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Register for childcare scheme now or miss out on money, Northern Ireland parents urged

 

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Appeal: Aoife Hamilton

Appeal: Aoife Hamilton

Appeal: Aoife Hamilton

Parents are being urged to register for the Childcare Voucher Scheme by the end of this month - or risk losing out on financial assistance worth almost £1,900.

The call from Employers For Childcare comes as the Government gets set to close the scheme to new entrants on October 4.

It means parents need to register now in order for their application to be registered and processed via their company payroll or miss out on savings of up to £933 each towards the cost of childcare.

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New entrants are first-time parents with babies born after the scheme's closure, families not registered before then, and current users who change jobs after October 4, 2018.

Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph revealed that parents in Northern Ireland are now spending more than £6,000 per child in annual nursery fees. However, in many cases the £6,000 price tag - which equates to almost a quarter of the average salary here - can be significantly higher, often rising to more than £8,000 per part-time place for many parents.

Aoife Hamilton of Employers For Childcare, said parents must act now if they want to avail of some precious financial help.

"Working families are set to lose out on vital savings - up to £933 per parent per year. Employers For Childcare can't stress strongly enough how imminent this deadline is," she said.

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"To join, parents must have made a salary sacrifice through their payroll before October 4.

"Many companies run their payroll four to six weeks in advance, therefore parents need to take action now to avoid missing out on annual household savings of up to £1,866 towards the cost of childcare.

"The message is clear: if you think your family may benefit from childcare vouchers now or in the future, sign up immediately. Childcare Vouchers can be used not only for registered childminders or day nurseries, but for school-aged children's breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and summer schemes.

"If you're unsure whether your family is eligible or not, call our charity helpline, the Family Benefits Advice Service on 0800 028 3008".

Ms Hamilton also reminded parents of the importance of supporting the campaign to stop the abolition of the vouchers.

"It's critical that we continue to put pressure on Government, highlighting the strength of feeling behind our #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign," she said.

"We are delighted to have been supported by MPs including Emma Little-Pengelly (DUP) and Lady Hermon (UUP) and to have received cross-party support from our local MLAs.

"There is still time for concerned parents, employers and childcare providers to stand together by lobbying their MP to halt the closure of childcare vouchers".


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