The full roll-out of Tax-Free Childcare has been delayed until next year for older children, the Treasury announced. Working parents of children under 12, or under 17 for disabled children, were expected to be able to access the scheme by December 2017, but this has been pushed back until March 2018.
However, Tax-Free Childcare will open to parents whose youngest child is under six or turns six on 24 November.
Mel Stride, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:
"More than 275,000 parents now have an open childcare account. Of these, over 216,000 parents received an eligibility code for 30 hours free childcare in September.
However, HMRC recognise that over the summer some parents didn’t receive the intended level of service whilst using the site. Whilst the majority of parents used the childcare service without significant problems, some parents experienced technical issues including delayed decisions about their eligibility for one or both of the schemes. The Government acted quickly to address this, and HMRC and their delivery partners NS&I have now made significant improvements to the service.
Over the coming months, we will gradually open the childcare service to parents of older children, whilst continuing to make further improvements to the system. This means we can manage the volume of applications going through the service, so parents continue to receive a better experience and prompt eligibility responses when they apply – almost all parents receive a response within five working days, and most get their decision instantly. All eligible parents will be able to apply by the end of March 2018."
Want to know more about Tax-Free Childcare? Find information on Business Smart.
Read our spotlights on 30 hours and early years funding.