Childcare voucher scheme gets six-month reprieve after DUP intervention
14 March 2018
BBC News has reported that Education Secretary Damian Hinds made the concession during a Commons debate.
The employer-backed voucher scheme, used by up to 450,000 parents, was due to be closed to new entrants next month but will now have a temporary reprieve.
An alternative system of tax-free childcare introduced by the government has suffered a succession of problems.
Ministers announced in 2013 that the employee scheme - in which staff in participating companies can receive vouchers worth up to £55 a week in lieu of their salary - would effectively be replaced by a system in which parents have to open an online voucher account and have their payments topped up by the state.
But the new system, which provides support of up to £2,000 a year, has been beset with problems. Because of glitches on the HMRC website, thousands have been unable to either set up tax-free accounts or access the money they had paid into them.
Those unable to access the tax-free childcare payments have been paid a total of £966,666 while nearly £40,000 in compensation has been paid to parents for inconvenience and expenses incurred.