Affordable childcare inquiry launched

8 Jan 18

MPs are to scrutinise how affordable childcare could boost the economy, in response to concerns that lack of access to services is stopping parents from being able to work.

The Treasury Committee launched an inquiry into childcare policy and its influence on the economy on Thursday last week

MPs are to uncover the proportion of parents who are struggling to find affordable and high-quality childcare.

The inquiry will examine government initiatives designed to make childcare affordable, such as childcare vouchers, 30-hour free childcare and the childcare element of universal credit.

It will also examine the IT failures that have hounded the Childcare Service website, which left a number of parents unable to access the tax free childcare account launched by HMRC in April.

The scheme pledged to cut childcare costs by up to £2,000 per year for children under the age of 12, and £4,000 per year for disabled children under 17.

Committee chair Nicky Morgan said: “High quality and affordable childcare is important for getting parents into work and supporting working families.

“The Treasury Committee will look at how it delivers benefits to the economy and supports labour productivity and participation.

“We’ll also look at the effectiveness of government initiatives at making childcare accessible and affordable.”

She added: “There had been reports of problems with the HMRC-run childcare service website, which has been a cause for concern.

“We’ll examine the impact of these failures on the take-up of government initiatives that aim to make childcare affordable.”

The first evidence session, to be held on 31 January 2018, will hear from Treasury chief secretary Elizabeth Truss.

The committee is currently inviting written evidence, for which the deadline is 9 February.

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