Help towards the costs of childcare

Updated on 7 November 2018

Welcome to our ‘help towards the costs of childcare’ section. This part of the website contains information about the different types of financial support that is available from the Government to help with the costs of childcare.

Help towards the costs of childcare

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, which gradually rolled out during 2017 and opened up to all qualifying claimants from 14 February 2018, allows parents to put money into a childcare account and for each 80p you put in the Government will 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 there are unexpected changes in your circumstances or the rules change, you may need to look again at the various options.

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

You can read more information about the different 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 the About Us section.