Martin Lewis urges parents to claim £2,000 a year free childcare for kids under 11

CHILDCARE is a huge financial burden for parents – but mums and dads could be entitled to £2,000 per child to help with those costs.

MoneySavingExpert‘s Martin Lewis, has urged parents to apply for the Government’s Tax-Free scheme to get support.

Martin Lewis is urging parents to claim £2000 towards childcare costs as hundreds of thousands are missing out

The scheme, which launched this year, is aimed at parents with children aged 11 and under or 17 and under if they have children with disabilities.

Some 1.3 million families are eligible but the MoneySavingExpert estimated that “hundreds of thousands are missing out”.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Martin Lewis said: “It’s half-term for many people, let’s talk tax-free about childcare.

“This is the Government’s system for helping people who pay childcare to get some support on it.

“Frankly there’s been lots of logistical problems with it.

“I understand why people aren’t claiming it but hundreds of thousands of people are missing out. You can get up to £2,000 per child, per year, free towards childcare.”

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The scheme’s available for parents with children who are 11 or under (or until they turn 17 if they have certain disabilities).[/caption]

It’s too late to apply for this half-term, but be sure to check if you’re eligible for the future.

Under the scheme, for every 80p you pay in, the Government adds an extra 20p up to £2,000 per child – £500 every three months – which can be used to pay your childcare provider.

All you need to do is sign up and open an online account via the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare site.

To qualify, you need to be working and earning a minimum of £131 a week from April – this is the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage for 25-year-olds or over.

What help is available for parents?

CHILDCARE can be a costly business. Here is how you can get help.

  • 30 hours free childcare  – Parents of three and four-year-olds can apply for 30 hours free childcare a week.
    To qualify you must work at least 16 hours a week at the national living or minimum wage and earn less than £100,000 a year.
  • Tax credits – For children under 20, some families can get help with childcare costs.
  • Childcare vouchers – If your employer offers childcare vouchers you can get up to £55 a week in tax and national insurance savings.
    You pay for your childcare before your tax contributions are taken out.
    This scheme is open to new joiners until October 4, 2018, when it is planned that tax-free childcare will replace the vouchers.
  • Tax-free childcare – Available to working families and the self-employed, for every £8 you put in the government will add an extra £2.


Each parent also needs to earn less than £100,000 a year.

If either guardian is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control, they are also unable to gain access to public funds.

It comes as more than half of private nurseries have upped fees, pushing some working parents into thousands of pounds of debt.

Ministers are looking at fresh ways to help struggling families juggling their busy lives while bringing up young children.

Cabinet members have privately agreed that boosting the number of free nursery places should be a top priority for the next election manifesto.

One option is to make free childcare available for all two-year-olds, not just those whose parents are on benefits such as income support or Universal Credit.

They are also considering increasing the maximum of up to 30 hours a week of free childcare available to the parents of three and four-year-olds

From tax-free childcare to free nursery hours – here’s the childcare help worth £5,000-plus parents may be missing out on.

Pregnant mums could also get £500 grant to help with cost of a new baby– here’s how to apply.

Plus, new mums can get up to £145 a week in maternity pay – even if they don’t have a job or boss.

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