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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 223238, tabled on 19 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report entitled A Bright Start, published by Save the Children and the Centre of Social Justice in November 2018, if she will make it her policy to raise the childcare element of universal credit from 85 per cent to 100 per cent of eligible costs to support families on low incomes.

Answered on

25 February 2019

The UC childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

The Government recognises that high childcare costs can affect parents’ decisions to take up paid work or increase their working hours. To overcome this barrier to employment we increased the level of support for childcare costs within Universal Credit from 70 per cent to 85 per cent.

This means that working families claiming Universal Credit can reclaim up to 85 per cent of their eligible childcare costs each month up to a limit of £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children.

Where upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, jobcentres have been instructed to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

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