Alliance responds to government changes to Universal Credit and childcare rules

Please find below a comment from the Early Years Alliance, responding to the news that the government has updated Universal Credit and childcare rules to say parents will have up to an extra five weeks to claim back the cost of childcare. The changes came into effect this month.

Previously, Universal Credit claimants needed to report the amount spent on childcare within the same assessment period in order to claim it back. Claimants now have until the end of the next assessment period, an extra calendar month, to report their childcare costs.

More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-childcare.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
“The change that providers and parents really wanted to see was help with making childcare payments up front. However useful this latest change is to parents, my worry is that, without support for those initial up front costs, any impact it has will be limited.

“At the moment providers are forced to choose between allowing parents to pay in arrears or refuse places for families on Universal Credit. It’s not fair to ask providers to shoulder the risk of non-payment by allowing parents who could already be struggling with Universal Credit-related repayments to build up further debt and it’s not right that poorer children, who stand to gain the most from childcare, are in danger of missing out on it completely.

“Sadly, that’s the situation current government policy is creating. It doesn’t have to be this way but, to fix it, ministers need to look seriously at ensuring there is upfront financial support for Universal Credit claimants who need childcare.”
 

ENDS

About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 members and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is www.eyalliance.org.uk