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Transfer from Universal Credit into Work: Cost of Childcare

Volume 724: debated on Monday 5 December 2022

9. What assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the cost of childcare on incentives for people to transfer from universal credit into work. (902581)

The Government are providing generous, tailored support for parents through universal credit, the free childcare entitlement and skills support to help parents to get into work and to progress. Eligible claimants can receive financial support for up-front childcare costs as well as support for ongoing costs.

Sandra in the Northwich part of my constituency—like many people up and down the United Kingdom, predominantly women—faces a significant barrier as a result of increased childcare costs. The childcare element of universal credit has been frozen since 2016. When does the Minister intend to do the right thing and unfreeze that element of universal credit?

Universal credit-eligible claimants can claim up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month, regardless of the number of hours they work; I would compare that favourably with 70% in tax credits. What I would say to employers who may be overlooking single parents is that they are not understanding the wide range of childcare challenges. I am a single mum—I get it. Looking at job design and flexibility is equally important.