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Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4438, tabled on 20 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure childcare is (1) accessible, and (2) affordable.

Answered on

6 January 2023

The department is committed to improving the availability and affordability of childcare which is why we have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on our early education entitlements to support families with the cost of childcare. This means that thousands of parents are benefitting from government childcare support.

In the 2021 Spending Review, we announced additional funding of £160 million in 2022/23, £180 million in 2023/24 and £170 million in 2024/25, compared to the 2021/22 financial year. This is for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers, reflecting cost pressures and changes in the number of eligible children anticipated at the time of the Spending Review.

For 2023/24, we will invest an additional £20 million into early years funding, on top of the additional £180 million for 2023/24. Taken together, this will help support providers at a national level with the additional National Living Wage costs associated with delivering the free childcare entitlements next year.

In July, we announced measures to reduce the costs and bureaucracy facing providers and ensure families can access government support to save them money on their childcare bills. This included the launch of a new £1.2 million communications campaign via the childcare choices website to ensure every parent knows about the government funded support they are eligible for:

The department continues to work across government, looking at ways to make childcare more affordable and accessible to ensure that families benefit from the government-funded support they are entitled to.