Majority want shorter implementation timeline for free childcare

70% of working parents require more long-term childcare supportEmployee Benefits poll: Almost nine in 10 (89.7%) Employee Benefits readers feel the government should have aimed for a shorter implementation timeline for the free childcare initiative introduced during this year’s Spring Budget.

A total of 6.1% said that they did not think the government should have aimed for a shorter implementation timeline, whereas 4.2% were unsure.

Last month, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced that the government would introduce 30 hours of free childcare for parents with children under the age of three.

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He explained that this was applicable to households where parents were working more than 16 hours a week, and that the provision would be during term time and last 38 weeks of the year, estimated to reduce childcare costs by around 60%.

The initiative will be introduced in stages, with 15 hours of free childcare available from April 2024 to parents with two-year-old children, extended to working parents with children aged nine months and above in September 2024, and to every working parent with a child aged under five in September 2025, allowing parents 30 hours of free childcare so they can return to work as soon as maternity or paternity leave ends.

Hunt said: “The childcare reforms will increase the availability of childcare, reduce costs, and increase the number of parents able to use it…

“They amount to the most significant improvements to childcare in over a decade. But if we really want to remove the barriers to work, we have to go further for parents who have a child under three. For them, childcare remains just too expensive.”