This petition was submitted during the 2015-2017 Conservative government

Petition Free childcare when both parents are working. Not just those who are on benefits

Free childcare is in place for 2 year olds where the parents have low income and mostly on benefits and don't work. If the parents are not working then their children don't need childcare. My husband and I work very hard to provide for our family but have to pay huge amount of money for childcare.

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When childcare is paid for when both parents are working it makes a huge dent in income, we could do with the help. All children deserve this, It seems as though I would be better off not working.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 21 November 2016

Government responded

This response was given on 1 November 2016

We give low-income 2-year-olds from working and nonworking households free early learning because they can arrive at school behind better-off children, and this helps to bridge that gap.

Read the response in full

The first few years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. Evidence tells us that they shape children’s future development; influence how well children do at school; their on-going health and wellbeing; and their achievements later in life. It helps to promote a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.

This Government believes that no child should be held back in life because of their background. We want to support everybody to go as far as their talents will take them. Participation in early education at age two delivers greater benefits to disadvantaged children than early education at age three or four, but this group are less likely to access formal early education than their more affluent peers. The early learning for two-year-olds programme is therefore intended to help close this unfair gap. The two-year-old entitlement is in place to close the attainment gap between the most disadvantaged and their better off peers, rather than to act as a work incentive.

However we do clearly understand the impact the cost of childcare can have on parents, and that’s why we are supporting parents with high childcare costs and investing in childcare at record levels. Total government spend on childcare support will increase from £5 billion in 2015-16 to over £6 billion by 2019-20. We are spending this on the current free 15 hours a week for three and four-year-olds and the most disadvantaged two-year-olds; the early years pupil premium for disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds, as well as providing 30 hours of free childcare for working parents of three- and four-year-olds from September 2017.

We are also introducing Tax-Free Childcare, which, from early 2017, will save around 2 million families up to £2,000 per child on their annual childcare bill for children aged under 12 (or £4,000 for children with special educational needs or disabilities up to the age of 17). In addition, the childcare element of Universal Credit provides up to 70% of eligible childcare costs (to a maximum limit of £532.29 for one child and £912.50 for two or more children). For parents in receipt of Universal Credit this rose to 85% of eligible costs from April 2016, with the maximum limits increasing to £646.35 for one child and £1108.04 for two or more children.

Department for Education

MPs want to hear your views on childcare

On Monday 21 November at 4.30pm, MPs will debate this petition. The debate will be led by Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee.

Get involved:

The Petitions Committee invite you to inform the debate by joining the conversation on the House of Commons Facebook page from Friday 11 to Tuesday 15 November:

Share your thoughts and experiences on the following questions:

• How easy have you found it to find suitable childcare? 

• What are your thoughts on the cost of childcare?  Is the Government giving parents the right support with childcare costs?
• Are there problems with the availability of qualified childcare staff?

On Tuesday 15 November from 4 to 5pm, Helen Jones MP will be joining the discussion live and responding to your comments.

Join the conversation on the House of Commons Facebook page:

Your comments will be shared with MPs taking part in the debate.

You can find out more information on the Parliament website:

This online discussion is organised by Parliament's Digital Outreach Team which works to involve the public in the work of the UK Parliament.
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