In April 2017 the Government launched tax-free childcare, which helps working parents with the cost of childcare with up to £2,000 of support per child. Today we will open the scheme to parents whose youngest child is under nine, or who turn nine today. We will be opening the scheme to all remaining eligible families on 14 February. This means all eligible parents will be able to apply for tax-free childcare before the end of this financial year.
The Government are giving more help with the cost of childcare to working parents than ever before. We introduced tax-free childcare in April 2017, and have doubled the free childcare available to working parents of three and four-year-olds to 30 hours a week. In 2019-20 we will be spending around £6 billion on childcare support—a record amount of support.
Since opening the childcare service, through which parents apply for 30 hours free childcare and tax-free childcare, more than 325,000 customers have successfully applied and are now using the service. Of these, more than 295,000 parents are eligible for 30 hours free childcare. Over 170,000 have a tax-free childcare account and we have begun activity to further raise awareness of tax-free childcare. We want to encourage more parents to take up the offer they are entitled to.