Major opposition MPs have today signed up to support keeping the Childcare Voucher scheme open to new entrants from 4th October, alongside Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), and have urged government to let MPs debate and vote on the proposed changes before they are implemented.
Specifically, opposition parties have expressed concern that:
- The government is closing the Childcare Voucher scheme to new entrants from 4th October without having conducted a proper analysis of the winners and losers from removing the scheme and replacing it with TFC, despite the Treasury Committee’s recommendation to do so;
- If the scheme closes, families will be unable to make an informed choice about the childcare that best suits their family’s needs, based on a comprehensive and flexible package of support; and
- Many low-income families will be worse off than if they were to carry on using Childcare Vouchers.
Commenting on the Early Day Motion (EDM), Catherine McKinnell MP, said:
“The Government has repeatedly failed to publish any analysis that clearly demonstrates the impact that the closure of Childcare Vouchers will have on families, despite a recommendation from the Treasury Select Committee to do so.
“This scheme is relied upon by hundreds of thousands of working parents across the country, and closing it to new entrants risks leaving some worse off from the transition to Tax-Free Childcare – and particularly lower-income households.
“It is crucial that steps are taken to protect affordable childcare for those that need it most. Keeping Childcare Vouchers open alongside Tax-Free Childcare, whilst a thorough impact assessment is conducted, would both allow us a better understanding of how families will be affected, and give families the option to choose the scheme that best suits their needs.”
The last-minute decision in March 2018 to delay closing the Childcare Voucher scheme until October alongside this newly tabled EDM demonstrates the government’s mismanagement of its childcare policy and the pressure it now faces to keep the scheme open after 4th October.
Research from the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) found at least 90 per cent of families will be better off using Childcare Vouchers, Tax Credits, or a combination of the two, than they would be under TFC, placing greater financial burdens on working families.
To ensure parents can make an informed choice about the childcare that best suits their needs family’s needs, based on a comprehensive and flexible package of support, the CVPA has launched a campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers to ensure all families have access to the same financial support towards the cost of childcare.
Jacquie Mills, Chair of the CVPA, said:
“The proposed closure of Childcare Vouchers from 4th October will further exacerbate childcare costs and limit flexibility for parents. We want all working families to have a choice when it comes to paying for childcare that suits their family’s needs. That’s why we’re calling on the government to #SaveChildcareVouchers ensuring all working parents have that choice”.
- The CVPA is the industry association established to represent the views of childcare voucher provider companies. CVPA members establish self-regulation of the childcare voucher industry, providing a benchmark in terms of quality of service employers can expect.
- The campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers was launched in May 2018 ahead of the planned closure to the Childcare Voucher scheme on 4th October 2018. It urges parents, employers, and childcare providers to lobby their MP to urge the government to keep the scheme open.
- According to the Department for Education’s most recent figures, the average family spends £2,014 a year on childcare. A two-parent family where both parents are paying the basic rate of tax can save up to £1,866 a year with Childcare Vouchers.
- There are over 780,000 parents currently using Childcare Vouchers. Childcare Vouchers have benefited millions of parents since their introduction in 2005.
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