The tax free childcare voucher scheme which was set to be launched in September has been delayed until 2017 following a legal challenge from the companies providing the vouchers. Under the system parents would pay into the online account and the government would top up 20% of the costs.
The government election pledge that it would offer 30 hours of free childcare a week to three and four year olds in England from September 2016 is under scrutiny following questions about funding availabilty. This entitlement will only be implemented once a full funding analysis has passed through parliament causing delays and continued monetary problems with childcare fees.
In London it is not uncommom for a full time nursery fee to cost £15,000 per annum.
In Scotland all three and four year olds are entitled to 600 hours of free childcare per year.
Statistics show that most families need two people bringing home a wage and that the number of stay-at-home mothers is at its lowest level in more than twenty years.
Many families rely on grandparents and friends for support as well as childminders and nursery childcare. It was thought by many that friends were not allowed to offer each other reciprocal childcare without Ofsted approval and whoever was watching the children would have to register as a childminder. Fortunately, this ambiguity no longer exists.