A big thank you to everyone who signed the petition – we’ve smashed the 100,000 signatures needed and a date (15 January 2018) has now been set for the petition to be debated in parliament.
If you signed the petition, or visited the petition page, you will have seen the government’s response. It pitched TFC against childcare vouchers rather than both schemes running alongside each other, as the petition called for.
The Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) believes there are some important facts to understand about the benefits of childcare vouchers that parents are set to lose.
It has been said that TFC is fairer and better targeted than vouchers, but this doesn’t take into account that families would lose all support under TFC if one parent was not in work for any reason this could be an unexpected job loss or having to stop working to look after an elderly relative. With Childcare Vouchers, the family would still receive support where they wouldn’t with TFC via the other working parent.
The average family will be able to claim more support with Childcare Vouchers. Tax-Free Childcare is often said to offer £2,000 of support, but this is based on a family spending a total of £10,000 a year on childcare, with £8,000 out of their own pocket. Most families cannot afford this. In fact, according to the Government’s figures, the average family spends £3,276 on childcare each year. This family would only receive up to £655 of support under TFC but could receive up to £1,866 with Childcare Vouchers.
It is also important to acknowledge that anyone who claimed TFC would lose access to any other working tax credits and universal credit, and these other benefits would still be available to a family using Childcare Vouchers.
It is also sometimes claimed that TFC is “fairer” to single parents, but single parent households could still be worse off with TFC. As a single parent paying standard rate tax would have to spend over £4665 on childcare to be better off with TFC than with Childcare Vouchers. It is precisely instances like this that shows us the importance of keeping both schemes open.
People sometimes think Childcare Vouchers has restricted access, but well over 20 million employees of the 31 million in this country can access vouchers. This includes everyone who works for any public sector body and any large employer. And this number is growing by the day. Even with the threat of closure over 1000 new small and medium sized businesses sign up to join the Childcare Voucher scheme every month.
Hopefully you’ll be able to see why we think it is so important that we keep Childcare Vouchers open.