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Help with childcare costs

With family budgets being increasingly squeezed by the high cost of living read our guide to the help available for parents struggling with childcare costs.

Mum, dad and two daughters

In Work

If you are a working parent you may be able to get help with childcare costs through the following;

From early 2017, the Employer Supported Childcare scheme will be replaced by a new Tax-Free Childcare scheme. Under this new scheme, the Government will contribute 20p for every £1 of the first £10,000 in childcare costs, per child, per year.

Tax-free Childcare is expected to help five times as many working parents in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales because it will cover the self-employed, as well as those working part-time, on paid sick leave and on paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave, The Government will provide help with childcare costs for the first time. To find out more see our Tax-free Childcare information guide.

Looking for work

If you are looking for work you may be eligible for help from Jobcentre Plus’ Flexible Support Fund. This can assist with childcare or replacement care costs when you attend an employer/provider or jobcentre adviser interview, or a Jobcentre Plus approved activity. Your   local Jobcentre Plus office should be able to provide more information about this. When participating in the Work Programme, you will be eligible for help with childcare/replacement care costs from the Work Programme provider.


If you are studying, depending on the course, they may be able to apply for a Childcare Grant or Care to Learn payments. It is also worth checking with your college to see if you qualify for the Discretionary Learner Support scheme which could assist with your childcare costs.

To find childcare and family services in your area see the Family and Childcare Trust website and you can also contact your local authority to obtain details.

Use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits income which could help with the cost of childcare.

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