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Budget 2016 – what does it mean for working parents?

There were a number of things in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget yesterday (16th March 2016) which may have an impact on you as a working parent, and we’ve summarised them for you below.



Tax-Free Childcare (TFC)

As previously announced, the government is introducing Tax-Free Childcare in early 2017. In the Budget the government clarified a few details, namely:

  • There will be a phased roll-out of TFC.
  • Parents with the youngest children will be able to enter the scheme first.
  • All eligible parents with children under 12 will be able to access the scheme by the end of 2017.
  • The existing childcare voucher scheme will remain open to new entrants until April 2018 to support the transition between the schemes.

For more information on TFC please visit


30 hours of free childcare

The government reiterated its plan to double the free childcare entitlement from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working families with three and four year olds.

In February the government announced the eight local authority areas that will pilot the scheme from September 2016 - Wigan, Staffordshire, Swindon, Portsmouth, Northumberland, York, Newham and Hertfordshire.

Parents in the pilot areas will need to meet the eligibility criteria for the offer:

›      All parents in the household working the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage up to a maximum salary of £100,000 a year per parent.

›      Parents do not necessarily need to actually work 16 hours a week, but their earnings must reflect at least 16 hours of work at National Minimum Wage (currently £107 a week) or National Living Wage; this includes those on zero-hour contracts who meet the criteria.


The Department for Education (DfE) has previously said that they don’t expect higher earners to apply for the extra hours if they do not need the childcare to cover them while they are working. However, it will be up to each council on the pilot to decide how to offer the places during the trial.


Extending shared parental leave to working grandparents

The government will launch a consultation in May 2016 on how to extend Shared Parental Leave and Pay to working grandparents.



Soft drinks industry levy

A number of initiatives will be funded by a new soft drinks industry levy, whereby producers and importers of soft drinks that contain added sugar will be incentivised to reduce the sugar in the drinks they sell, to move consumers towards lower sugar alternatives, and to reduce portion sizes:

1. Primary school PE and after school clubs

From September 2017 the government will increase funding to £320 million per year. This funding will enable primary schools to make improvements, such as introducing after school clubs.

2. Longer school day

The government will provide up to £285 million a year to give 25 per cent of secondary schools the opportunity to extend their school day to offer a wider range of activities for pupils, including more sport. 

3. Expand breakfast clubs

Breakfast clubs help ensure more children have a nutritious breakfast as a healthy start to their school day. Starting from September 2017, the government will provide £10 million funding to expand these clubs in up to 1,600 schools.


The government announced that it expects all schools to become academies by 2020.

Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy.

£20 million of new funding will be made available to raise education standards across the Northern Powerhouse.

We’ll update you as these stories develop.