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15 hours govt-funded childcare access for parents of two-years old

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From September 2024, 15 hours of free childcare will be extended to all children from the age of nine months.

In a groundbreaking move, the Department of Education has initiated the first phase of its ambitious childcare expansion plan, offering a lifeline to thousands of working parents of two-year-olds nationwide.

Effective from April 1, working parents now have access to 15 hours a week of government-funded childcare, marking the onset of the largest-ever childcare provision expansion in the country’s history.

This milestone initiative aims to alleviate the financial strain on families and promote workforce participation, with over 150,000 children projected to benefit from government-funded places.

By September 2025, the expansion will culminate in working parents gaining access to 30 hours of free childcare, offering substantial annual savings and enabling parents to navigate the delicate balance between work and family commitments.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of childcare in supporting families and driving economic growth, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasized the government’s commitment to delivering on its promise of expanded childcare provision.

“We want to give working families the peace of mind that they will be supported, and our full expansion will save parents £6900 a year – helping to build a brighter future for families and help to grow our economy,” he said.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan hailed the move as a “landmark moment,” highlighting its potential to empower working parents and foster economic prosperity.

“We’re on track for more than 150,000 children to take up government-funded places under our new offer. This will be a lifeline for working parents, building up to this government’s plan for the most comprehensive childcare support in this country’s history by 2025,” she added.

The expansion has garnered widespread acclaim from various sectors, with business organizations and childcare providers applauding its positive impact on workforce participation and early childhood development.

Addressing the issues that the new funding would provide to parents of young ones, Jane Gratton, Deputy Director Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce said, ” helping more parents access high quality, affordable childcare will help firms recruit and retain skilled people and remove a significant barrier to work.”

The initiative also highlights wraparound care which aims to provide comprehensive support for working parents, ensuring access to childcare services from 8am to 6pm, ultimately promoting workforce participation and easing the burden on families across communities.

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