In England and Wales, parents of 3- and 4-year-olds will get 30-hours free childcare a week from September 2017, if both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family), and each parent earns the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage, and earns less than £100,000 a year.
This is an expansion of the current scheme which already provides 15-hours childcare a week for all 3- and 4-year-olds, and the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds.
As a father of 2 boys under 5 this has been an important government policy, I have been keeping an eye on it, as it will have implications in our day to day finances. For our family, these additional 15 hours will mean a saving of around £3,000 per year, which will make a massive difference.
There are potential problems with scheme however, as nurseries have said that their funding has been slashed and that they will not be able to provide the childcare. It could lead to some nurseries refusing to provide the free childcare and spaces in participating nurseries being limited.
Some nurseries have even suggested charging higher rates for under 2’s to subsidise the free childcare. Personally, our current nursery has increased their fees, which may be to cover the impeding shortfall they are about to receive.
Let me know in the comments how you think you may be effected.