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Bring back childcare vouchers, says new campaign  

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

A campaign has been launched to bring back childcare vouchers just months after they were scrapped.

The Childcare Voucher scheme closed to new entrants on 4 October 2018 and has been replaced by Tax-Free Childcare (read our guide to how the new scheme works here). 

Since the scheme ended, the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) said it has been “flooded with emails” from concerned parents who have either missed out on or lost this form of childcare support.

One father starting a new job said the scheme’s closure had cost his family around £900 a year.

The CVPA has launched a survey to gauge the impact the closure has had on parents, employers and childcare providers.

It believes the Childcare Voucher scheme should be reopened for the following reasons:

  • Vouchers are seen as an important recruitment and retention tool.
  • Take up of the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme has been well below expectations, with only 91,000 families signing up compared to the 415,000 forecast by the government.
  • The Childcare Voucher scheme is progressive as it benefits lower earners by basing qualifying support on income. Tax-Free Childcare is structured to benefit higher earners by basing qualifying support on expenditure.
  • Many parents will receive less money for childcare under Tax-Free Childcare.

Jacquie Mills, chair of the CVPA, said: “The closure of Childcare Vouchers to new entrants has hit thousands of working families, piling additional pressure on parents who are just about managing to balance the demands of work and childcare.

“Working parents are now left with less flexibility and choice of childcare support, and for many, the closure will prevent them from returning to work and progressing in their careers.”

 The links to the survey are here: Parents (current users) and here Parents (those who missed out/not users)