Paying for Childcare

Childcare Funding for Working Parents

There are a number of different schemes and support available to working parents, to help with the cost of childcare. An overview of these schemes and support is given below but full details on the range of support available can be found on the Childcare Choices website. There is also an online calculator can help you find out what support scheme is best for you and your family.

Tax Free Childcare Scheme

Working parents with children under 12 (or under 17 if the child has a disability) can open an online account to pay for childcare. For every £8 you pay into the account, the government will top it up by £2. You can receive up to £2000 per child per year or £4000 if your child has a disability. 

To ensure you receive the maximum amount of tax free childcare, parents will need to make regular deposits, as the government cap the level of funding they provide at £500 per quarter (3 months). 

You can use your tax free childcare account to pay for registered childcare, your childcare provider must also be signed up to received payment through this service. 

The Tax Free Childcare can be used at the same time as the Free Early Education and Childcar Entitlements but it can not be used with either Tax Credits or Universal Credits. 

To find out if you are eligible and how to apply for Tax Free Childcare please visit Childcare Choices

Child Tax Credit

Working families with children under 16 (or 17 if the child has a disability) could claim back up to 70% of their childcare costs. Please note you can only claim for Child Tax Credit if you are receiving Working Tax Credit. If you cannot apply for Child Tax Credit then you can apply for Universal Credit (see below). To find out if you are eligible for Child Tax Credit visit: https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit 

Child Tax Credit cannot be claimed at the same time as the Tax Free Childcare Scheme or Universal Credit. 

Universal Credit

Eligible working parents may be able to claim up to 85% of their childcare costs under their Universal Credit claim. For more information and to apply online visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Universal Credit cannot be used at the same time as Child Tax Credit, Tax Free Childcare or the Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlements. 

Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlements

All 3 and 4 year olds and some 2 year olds (subject to eligibility) can claim up to 15 hours a week of free childcare over at least 38 weeks of the year. Working parents may also be eligible to claim for an additional 15 hours a week for their 3 and 4 year old, most commonly known as the '30 hours free childcare'. 

To find out more about the entitlements, including how to access them in Sutton visit the Free Childcare pages.

Childcare Vouchers

Childcare voucher schemes are no longer open for new entrants, however, if you are already using this scheme, you can continue to pay for childcare using your childcare vouchers. Parents cannot sign up for a Tax Free Childcare account whilst already using the childcare vouchers. If you are using childcare vouchers and would prefer to use the Tax Free Childcare scheme, please contact your childcare voucher provider about closing your account prior to apply for the Tax Free Childcare Scheme.