Updated on 31 December 2020

This part of the website contains information about the different types of financial support that are available from the government to help with the costs of childcare.

Illustration of a family around a wallet and coins
(c) Shutterstock / Yagudina Tatyana

Currently, the main types of financial support are offered by either:

  • reducing the amount of income tax and National Insurance you have to pay on your earnings – this is sometimes referred to as tax relief.

  • including additional amounts for childcare in an award of benefits such as tax credits and universal credit.

  • provision of free childcare places: where the government meets the cost; or

  • tax-free childcare: a scheme where you put money into a childcare account to pay for childcare costs and for each 80p you put into the account the government will also put in 20p (up to certain limits).

In some cases, you can use a combination of these schemes and in some cases, you can only use one of the schemes. Which option you choose will depend on your circumstances now as well as any known future changes. Sometimes applying for help through one scheme can stop support through another, so it is important to check the rules of each scheme carefully before deciding which to apply for. 

You should also bear in mind that if your circumstances or the rules change, you may need to look again at the options.

We do not offer advice on how to choose a childcare provider.

You can read more information about the options by following the links below.

For information on the scope of the help that you can expect to find in this section, please see About us.

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