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Thousands of single parents excluded from 30 hours childcare, claims charity

Up to 20,000 single parents could miss out on the extended free entitlement offer due to a change in eligibility criteria, according to the charity for single parent families, Gingerbread.

In November, the government announced that parents would need to earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage to be eligible from the offer, up from the previous minimum requirement of the equivalent of eight hours a week, a change that Gingerbread says is “likely to have a significant impact on single parent families.”

“Gingerbread analysis shows that if the Childcare Bill was implemented today, around 20,000 working single parents of three and four-year-olds would miss out,” says the charity’s director of policy, Dalia Ben-Galim. “This undermines the Government’s commitment to ‘make work pay’.”

She added that “it’s disappointing that, having initially committed to funding 30 hours of free childcare for all working parents, the government is increasingly putting barriers in place that will ultimately prevent more single parents from being able to increase their working hours”.

The charity is calling on the government to exempt single parents from the 16-hour commitment, as well parents who are undertaking training in order to return to the workforce.