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Free childcare support in London: what you need to know

Free childcare support: what you need to know

Childcare costs are up to a third higher in London than the rest of the UK, according to a report by the London Assembly Economy Committee, with parents paying between 25% and 33% more in the capital.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stepped in last year by announcing a new free childcare policy that aims to relieve parents of this financial burden by making significant changes to 15 and 30 hours childcare support in England.

Here’s everything you need to know if your kids are under five and you need financial support to care for them while you work.

15 and 30 hours of childcare

The expansion of existing childcare support is being staggered, starting from April 2024. Under the new plan, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be eligible to receive 30 hours of childcare support.

The changes are being introduced in phases to make sure that providers can handle the surge in demand that the new measures will create. This means that:

  • From April 2024, eligible working parents of two-year-olds can now claim 15 hours of free childcare a week for 38 weeks.
  • From September 2024, 15 hours of childcare support per week will be made available to eligible working parents of children aged from 9 months to three years old.
  • From September 2025, working parents who have children from nine months old up to school age will be eligible to claim 30 hours of free childcare a week for 38 weeks per year.

Like the existing offer, depending on your provider, you can use your hours over 38 weeks of the year or up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week.

You can now apply for 15 hours of funded childcare if both these requirements apply:

  • Your child is two years old or turned two before 1 April 2024.
  • You earn at least £8,670 a year and less than £100,000 a year adjusted net income, which is your income after some tax reliefs and deductions – if you’re a couple, you will both need to earn between these amounts.

How to claim the new childcare support

If you’re about to or have just moved to the UK, to be eligible for free childcare for working parents you (and your partner if you have one) must have a National Insurance number (NIN).

The applicant, who can only apply once they have moved to the UK, must also have at least one of the following:

  • British or Irish citizenship
  • Settled or pre-settled status or you have applied and you’re waiting for a decision
  • Permission to access public funds – your UK residence card will inform you if you’re eligible.

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You will also need to provide:

  • The date you started or are due to start work
  • Details of any government support or benefits you receive
  • Your child’s UK birth certificate reference number (if they have one).

Consult with Simply London

Consulting with Simply London empowers you with personalised guidance on the childcare funding options you’re eligible for and how to apply – so you can afford the best support possible in London for your children.  Contact us today to find out how we can help.


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