'Open new childcare scheme to freelancers first'

A new child care voucher scheme by the government should open to self-employed mothers before anyone else, a cross-party panel of MPs recommends.

Due to be rolled out shortly, the scheme is designed to open first to families with the youngest children, including those who already have access to childcare vouchers.

But this would mean that self-employed parents would have to “wait to access this support,” the Women’s All Party Parliamentary Group notes in its new report.

“This will particularly affect the increasing numbers of self-employed women,” the report adds.

“In order to provide greater support to self-employed women more quickly, the APPG recommends that TFC should be opened to self-employed parents first.”

Under TFC, (Tax-Free Childcare) parents will be able to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.

For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2, with parents to receive a maximum of £2,000 per child a year, towards their childcare costs (or £4,000 for disabled children).

The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12 (or 17 for children with disabilities). But to qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £115 a week.

In addition, each parent must not have income over £100,000 a year but, assuming they each earn under this amount, they can apply for all their children at the same time.

Meanwhile, the APPG heard from one freelancer that it “should be easier” than it currently is to find out what type of maternity support is on offer when the would-be recipient is self-employed.



31st January 2017

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