Alliance comments on change to tax-free childcare for parents of disabled children

9th February 2015

Commenting on the news that parents of disabled children can now pay up to £16,000 into a childcare account per year (up from £8,000), Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“We welcome the recognition that much more needs to be done to help the parents of disabled children with the cost of childcare. However, we are concerned that this particular change offers little help to those families that need it most.

“The tax-free childcare scheme is already regressive in nature, as the more a family can afford to pay into their childcare account, the more financial support they receive from government. The change announced today is likely to compound this problem further, as only those parents of disabled children that can afford to pay more than the previous limit of £8,000 per year into their childcare accounts will receive any extra financial support from government. Those that cannot will not see any additional benefit.

“We would argue, therefore, that it would have been far more practical for the government to increase the proportional rate of top-up for parents of disabled childcare above the current rate of 20%. A change of this kind would have ensured that all eligible families benefitted from additional financial support, not just those that can afford to spend large amounts on childcare.”

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Notes for editors

[…] the Government has decided to introduce legislation to increase the maximum amount that parents of disabled children can pay into their childcare accounts, in recognition of the higher childcare costs these families incur. For accounts for disabled children, the maximum payment for a standard three month entitlement period will be doubled to £4,000. This means that a parent with a disabled child will be able to pay up to £16,000 into their childcare account per year and receive top-up payments of up to £4,000. This will be achieved by amending section 19 of the Act through a separate statutory instrument.


  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website:

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