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Parents will not lose access to childcare offers during coronavirus outbreak

By Rachel Lawlerchildren running

Parents who are usually eligible to access the 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare schemes will continue to benefit from them in the summer term, even if their income falls during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department for Education has today confirmed that parents will still receive funding for the offers, even if their earnings fall below the minimum requirements during the pandemic.

Subject to parliamentary approval, critical workers will also remain eligible for the schemes, even if their income increases above the maximum thresholds during the crisis.

Ordinarily, working parents must earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week on the national minimum wage and below £100,000 a year to qualify for the offers.

The deadline for confirming eligibility for the 30 hours offer in the summer term has been extended until 31 August.

The DfE said that the temporary measure will be reviewed over the summer.

Children and families minister Vicky Ford said: “No parent whose income falls as a result of this virus should lose their eligibility for free childcare at this time. That’s why we are confirming that anyone who was previously eligible should remain so.

“I am also asking local authorities to extend the validity of 30 hours codes of any parents who have missed their chance to reconfirm. This will help smooth the transition period when settings reopen.”

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “We welcome the confirmation by the DfE today that parents no longer meeting the wage requirements for the 30 hours scheme due to the impact of the coronavirus can continue to access this support during this challenging time.

“Given that the same offer of support was announced by HMRC for those accessing tax-free childcare, it is only fair and consistent for the DfE to extend this support to the 30 hours offer. We know that many parents are facing real financial difficulty at this time, and hope that this move will provide at least some reassurance to those who have experienced a loss of income, including those who have been furloughed, through no fault of their own."

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