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Child Care

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on measures taken to encourage employer responsibilities towards child care costs for employees with children. [131307]

The Government recognises that making child care affordable is a key challenge for the National Child care Strategy and has made a substantial investment to achieve this.

All working parents may receive means-tested support through the child care element of the Working Tax Credit (WTC). Families are eligible to apply for the child care element of WTC where a lone parent or both parents work for at least 16 hours a week. Support may be worth up to 70 per cent. (maximum £135 a week for one child) of eligible child care costs up to £200 a week. Parents cannot claim the child care element of WTC for the time their children receive a free nursery education place but may be eligible for help for extended hours or wraparound care. The responsibility for claiming WTC rests with parents, not child care providers.

We are working closely with Inland Revenue and the Treasury over proposals to improve employer supported child care for employees. Inland Revenue and Treasury launched a consultation document in February 2003, and the responses were published on September 17.