To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Prime Minister's recent announcement of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, whether she is taking steps to increase the childcare available for single parents on universal credit with pre-school-aged children to enable those parents to gain equal access to training and upskilling opportunities.
14 October 2020
The Government now provides more support than ever before to help parents with the costs of childcare, including providing 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, and doubling free childcare available for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week.
Parents already have access to more generous support for childcare costs through Universal Credit than via the legacy system. Working families can claim up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs each month up to a maximum support of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.
The childcare costs element is available to all lone parents and couples who are in receipt of Universal Credit, for relevant childcare provided, when both members are in paid work, regardless of the number of hours they work within their assessment period.
Help with upfront childcare costs for starting work is available through a non-repayable Flexible Support Fund (FSF) award for eligible UC claimants up to the limits set. This does not apply for claimants already in work. We have issued guidance to Work Coaches in Jobcentres to ensure that eligible claimants, who require help with upfront childcare costs in order to start work, are directed to the governments FSF.