Belfast Telegraph

Under-12s childcare benefit of £2,000 available in Northern Ireland

From Wednesday, parents in Northern Ireland will be able to benefit from childcare support payments of up to £2,000.

Around 70,000 working families across the province will benefit from the tax-free childcare scheme, the roll-out of which started in 2017.

The tax-free childcare scheme - first announced back in 2013 - will give parents 20p for every 80p paid towards childcare, up to the value of £2,000.

Payments are made by parents through the Childcare Choice website, which was launched back in April 2017 - but was hit with technical difficulties.

The scheme had previously been made available to parents of younger children, with under-6s becoming eligible in November 2017, and under-9s becoming eligible in January.

By making the scheme available to the parents of under-12s, all eligible parents are now able to apply for the scheme.

Payments of up to £4,000 are available for children with disabilities.

For parents to qualify they need to be in work and earning the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Living Wage, which works out at around £120, and where the parents are not each earning more than £100,000.

Tax-free childcare is replacing employer-supported childcare, which is currently only available to parents if their employer supports it.

Conservative MP and chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said: "Tax-Free Childcare will cut thousands of pounds from childcare bills and is good news for working parents.

“More parents will be able to work if they want to and this demonstrates our commitment to helping families with the cost of living."

Parents can sign up for the scheme through Childcare Choices website, where parents are also able to see which government childcare support is best for them.

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