Last day for Comments on Tax Free Childcare

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Today is the last day for Comments on the proposed Tax free childcare

Parents have one day left to submit their comments on the Government’s Tax Free Childcare consultation. The online survey requires parents to submit their views on the proposed changes announced at the Budget 2013 to introduce a tax free childcare scheme for working families. Under the consultation, the Government has proposed a scheme to provide 20 per cent of childcare costs for each child, up to a limit of £1,200 for families where all parents are working. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “This government is on the side of people who want to work hard and get on in life. Tax-Free Childcare will help working parents by giving them more choice and better access to the quality, affordable childcare that they need. “We want to make sure that the new scheme works well, and meets the needs of working families which is why we are seeking the views of parents and other interested parties.” Already completed by 35,000 people, the online survey has been designed with parents in mind so that the consultation can be accessible to all without needing to read the 68 page consultation. Mr Osborne continued: “I am delighted that so many parents have taken the opportunity to respond to the consultation already, and would urge others to have their say and help shape the policy before the questionnaire closes.” The proposed support, offering £1,200 per child can be compared to the existing scheme where the maximum support of £933 tax relief per employed parent is accessible. Tax Free Childcare is anticipated to replace Employer-Supported Childcare over time and provide support to more families who would previously not have access to financial help. When the consultation was first announced, some professionals from the care sector reported their disappointment that the proposal did not include families with one stay at home parent. Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said they were: “disappointed that the tax breaks are dependent on both parents working and that this does nothing to support those who choose to sacrifice their salary and put their careers on hold to stay at home and look after their children. This flies in the face of pre-Election rhetoric where several MPs spoke of ensuring support for families in this way.” However, Mr Leitch praised the move to support working families, and said: “While we would have preferred the Government to have properly funded universal childcare provision for all families, regardless of income, this should eventually be good news for families where both parents are working and for lone-parent families with a working parent.” Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association also praised the Government’s move to extend childcare vouchers to help more working families, but warned: “The voucher system must be user friendly for parents and minimise administration for nurseries. We also need to make sure that lower and middle income families benefit and support is available where it is needed most, including for families in receipt of Universal Credit.” The chance for parents to submit their opinions through the survey closes tomorrow.