There may be more financial doom and gloom expected in George Osborne’s 2013 budget announcement, but one childcare scheme could be welcome news to working parents across Britain.
A new voucher system will allow parents to claim back 20% of their childcare costs, reclaiming up to £1,200 a year.
The new proposals, set to come into force in 2015, will only apply to households where both parents work and will be capped at 20% of a £6,000 expenditure.
Families where one parent earns over £150,000 or the combined wages reach over £300,000 will also be exempt.
The scheme will be introduced for families with children under five, eventually rolling out to those with children up to 12 years old.
The new system will work by having parents open an online voucher account where every 80p they pay in will be matched by 20p from the government.
These vouchers can then be used for any Ofsted childcare in England and equivalent providers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
According to Children’s Minister Elizabeth Truss, the vouchers will form part of the coalition’s ongoing pledge to support families in Britain, where childcare costs are amongst the highest in the world.
“This is about giving parents choice. At the moment a lot of parents can’t go out to work because the cost of childcare is prohibitive,” she told BBC Radio 4. “We believe in marriage and strong families and in families making choices.”
The proposals have been predicted to benefit over 2.5 million families.