Early Years Alliance comments on low tax-free childcare take-up

Commenting on reports that only 22% of parents expected to have signed up to the government's tax-free childcare scheme by October 2017 have taken up the offer, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance (formerly the Pre-school Learning Alliance), said:

“Given that many parents across the country  are continuing to struggle with the cost of childcare, the fact that this flagship childcare scheme has had so little take-up demonstrates just how poorly this policy has been rolled-out.

"Ongoing technical issues have meant that many parents still struggle to complete the simplest of tasks, even just signing up for the scheme, or reconfirming their eligibility. And of course, the regressive nature of this policy - as those who can afford to put the most into their childcare accounts get the greatest support from government - means that for many families on lower-incomes, it simply isn't worth the hassle.

"With the government spending much less than budgeted on this flawed initiative, there is simply no excuse for ministers not to use this money to better support parents and early years providers. This means not only investing into the IT systems needed to ensure tax-free childcare functions as it should, but also ensuring that the funding going to frontline early years providers is enough to enable them to provide quality, accessible and affordable care and education, both now and in the long term."



  • 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 member settings 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