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Liberal Democrat News 14th October 2011

October 14, 2011 9:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Now that the recess is over there are reports from both the Commons and the Lords on what Liberal Democrats have been saying.

Childcare boost announced by Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced more help for working parents who are trying to cope with the cost of childcare.

Around 80,000 more households, who currently do not receive help because they work too few hours in the week, will benefit from the changes.

Reaffirming the Coalition's commitment to helping parents, the government will invest an additional £300m into childcare support under Universal Credit, on top of the £2bn already spent under the current system.

Currently, childcare support is only available if you work 16 hours or more, but the government is removing the minimum hours rule so that all families receiving Universal Credit will be eligible for financial help. This means that families on low incomes will receive more support to keep them in work.

As now, families will be able to recover childcare costs at 70 per cent - up to £175 for one child or £300 for two or more children per week. The money will be paid through Universal Credit from 2013 and will mean that around 80,000 more families with children will be able to work the hours they choose.

"Childcare support is vitally important," said Nick. "It's a lifeline for families up and down the country, particularly for mums who want to get back into work, maybe for just a few hours a week after they've had children.

"This will help an extra 80,000 families who have previously had no help at all with childcare costs. We all know how difficult it is sometimes to juggle family and work, but this is really good news, especially for lone parents and mums up and down the country.

"I want to ensure that this Coalition Government is there for families of all shapes and sizes and help them with the difficult daily juggling act between family and work."

The additional support, combined with State funded free early years education for younger children, will enable parents of children of any age to bring together full-time paid employment with parenting, and will ensure that those with school age children can meet their job search obligations.

For those paying average childcare costs, this would enable parents to buy up to around 40 hours of childcare a week.

The limits will also be applied monthly, giving parents more flexibility to manage fluctuating costs at peak times, such as school holiday periods when they may face higher costs some weeks and lower costs on other weeks.

The Co-Chair of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Committee on Work and Pensions, Jenny Willott, has welcomed the announcement.

"This is excellent news for thousands of parents working in part-time jobs who up until now have not been able to receive any help with their childcare costs," she said. "I believe that this shows very clearly that Liberal Democrats are committed

to supporting all working families and to making childcare affordable and are making this a reality
in government."

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