Help with Childcare Costs for Single Parents in the UK

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Let’s talk about childcare costs, shall we? As a single parent, they can feel completely unmanageable. However, there are various resources and support systems available to help single parents somewhat alleviate the financial burden of childcare expenses. Let’s run through them.

boy at  nurserychildcare in the uk
Photo by Kostiantyn Li on Unsplash

What Support is There for Single Parents for Childcare Costs?

From government support to employee benefits and charity grants, these are some of the support systems available for single parents in the UK who need help paying for childcare. 

Community Support

Along with the traditional support systems to follow, consider leaning on your community of family and friends and the single parent community to make childcare costs more manageable. Jump on the Frolo app to find your support network and how about looking into a nanny share, childcare exchange or car pooling to ease time and cost constraints? Jump on this Frolo chat group to get the conversation started. 

Government Support

1. Universal Credit

Single parents in the UK may be eligible for Universal Credit, which is a government benefit designed to support individuals and families on low incomes or who are out of work. Universal Credit can help cover childcare costs for working single parents, providing assistance with up to 85% of eligible childcare expenses, up to a certain limit. 

2. Tax-Free Childcare

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme is another government initiative that can benefit single parents. Through this scheme, the government contributes up to £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for a child with a disability) to help cover the costs of approved childcare. To be eligible, single parents must be working and earning at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week. 

Childcare Vouchers

Although new applicants cannot join the Childcare Voucher scheme, those who were already enrolled before October 4, 2018, can continue to benefit from it. This scheme allows eligible parents to exchange a portion of their salary for childcare vouchers, which are then used to pay for registered childcare. Single parents who were part of the scheme before its closure can still benefit from the savings it offers. 

Free Early Education and Childcare

All 3 to 4-year-olds in the UK are entitled to 15 hours of free early education and childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year. Some families may also be eligible for an additional 15 hours per week, bringing the total to 30 hours. This provision can significantly reduce childcare costs for single parents with children in this age group. 

Local Authority Support

Many local authorities in the UK offer support for childcare costs through various schemes and initiatives. Single parents should contact their local authority to inquire about available assistance programs, as eligibility criteria and benefits can vary depending on the area of residence.

Charitable Organisations

Several charitable organisations in the UK focus on supporting single parents by providing financial assistance for various needs, including childcare. These organisations may offer grants or subsidies specifically earmarked for covering childcare expenses. Examples include Gingerbread, a charity that provides advice and practical support for single parents, and Turn2us, which offers financial help and support to people in need.

Employer Benefits

Some employers in the UK provide benefits that can help single parents manage childcare costs. These may include:

1. Childcare Voucher Schemes

Although new entrants are not eligible for this scheme, some employers may still offer it to existing members of staff. Single parents should check with their employers to see if they are still able to benefit from this initiative.  

2. Workplace Nurseries

Some employers operate their own workplace nurseries or have partnerships with local nurseries, which can provide affordable and convenient childcare options for single parents.

Read next: What Single Parent Benefits Am I Entitled To? 

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