The petition on the UK Government and Parliament website, which has been created by Ellie Symonds-Lloyd, argues that Government plans to close the vouchers scheme to new entrants could see thousands of parents lose hundreds of pounds or find themselves unable to claim support at all as Tax-Free Childcare is open only to families where all parents work.
Childcare vouchers will be closed to new entrants as of April next year.
Ms Symonds-Lloyd says that voucher schemes should be kept open alongside Tax-Free Childcare to give parents a ‘genuine choice’ for the support that best suits their family.
As this story was published, the petition had received 102,474 signatures- over the 100,000 required for the issue to be debated in Parliament.
Jacquie Mills, chair of the Childcare Vouchers Providers Association (CVPA), said, ‘Childcare vouchers provide essential financial support to working families. The Department for Education’s own figures show that the average family would receive less support under Tax-Free Childcare than with childcare vouchers. This will only put a further financial squeeze on nurseries that are already under pressure from the underfunded 30-hours free childcare scheme. This is why the CVPA supports this petition, and is calling on Government to keep childcare vouchers open alongside the Tax-Free Childcare.’
A Treasury response on the petition after it received 10,000 signatures, states, ‘The Government is investing more in childcare than ever before. Tax-Free Childcare is one part of that childcare support and is fairer and better targeted than vouchers.
‘Tax-Free Childcare will be available to over two million households to help with the cost of childcare, enabling more parents to go out to work if they want to. Working parents will be able to apply via an online childcare account, and access up to £2,000 per child (or £4,000 for disabled children).
‘The system is fairer and better targeted than vouchers, which are only offered by a minority of employers and self-employed parents are unable to access them. Tax-free childcare benefits parents whose employer doesn’t offer vouchers and the self-employed. It’s also fairer: support will be paid per child rather than per parent, so lone parent households will get the same support as those with more than one parent.’
- This story was updated on 9 November