Tiny tots: Childcare made affordable

By at home

oiggybankWhether it’s for a nursery, childminder, out of school club or a holiday scheme, parents today spend a good portion of their salary on childcare costs. During these times of economic downturn, this can be a particularly large financial burden on parents. Our experts at Busy Bees Benefits – part of the Busy Bees Group –  have provided us with plenty of information about how savvy parents can save money and make the most of the government initiatives and schemes that could reduce their childcare costs.

Childcare Vouchers
This is one of the most popular employee benefits available to working parents, due to the scheme’s simplicity and ease of use – and not to mention that it can save a family up to £1800 a year!

  • Parents simply exchange up to £243 worth of their salary each month for the same amount of non-taxable and National Insurance exempt Childcare Vouchers. They can then use their Vouchers to pay for all types of registered childcare, including nurseries, crèches, out of school clubs, holiday schemes and activity camps.
  • Both mum and dad are able to request Childcare Vouchers to maximise the family saving and they’re available to all rates of tax-payers – basic, higher and additional.
  • Many parents are under the impression that Childcare Vouchers are just for pre-schoolers but they can actually be used for children up to the age of 16. This means that although you may be using a nursery now, you might swap to a childminder in a few years or even start using an activity camp, like Camp Beaumont, SuperCamps or PGL.
  • More than 450,000 working parents across the UK request Childcare Vouchers through their employer to help save money on their childcare costs.
  • Parents who would like to take advantage of Childcare Vouchers should ask their Human Resources/Personnel team if a scheme is already in place. If not, it is simple to set up and is cost neutral to the organisation, so it is worth a company launching a scheme.

Busy Bees Benefits runs a Childcare Voucher scheme, offering parents who use their Vouchers to pay their nurseries an additional discount. For more information, visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

Working Tax Credits
These help working parents on a low income to support the cost of registered childcare. The childcare element of the WTC can help eligible parents with up to 70 per cent of childcare costs. If you pay childcare for:

  • For one child, the maximum childcare cost you can claim is £175 a week – you can receive £122.50 a week in credits.
  • For two or more children, the maximum cost you can claim is £300 a week – you can receive £210 a week in credits.

For further information on how to claim, visit www.direct.gov.uk.

Free childcare places
All children aged three and four are entitled to receive 15 hours of free childcare each week, over 38 weeks, as part of the government’s ten year strategy to provide them with high quality early years provision. This is regardless of the child’s background or family circumstances.

Children will receive their free provision from the term after their third birthday.

There are numerous websites available that contain lots more information about how to save your family money. For impartial advice and information, www.direct.gov.uk has an entire section for parents.

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Tiny tots: The importance of outdoor play for young children

About our experts

Founded in 1983, Busy Bees is the biggest provider of childcare in the UK, offering 11,500 places to children in 129 settings across the country. Busy Bees have become synonymous with quality care, and adopt a practical child-centred approach, where children are respected as individuals and encouraged to learn and develop at their own pace within a home from home environment. For more information, just visit www.busybeeschildcare.co.uk.


Image: PA Photos

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