Free child­care en­ti­tle­ment

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews -

HAL­TON Bor­ough Coun­cil has urged par­ents to to find out if they are el­i­gi­ble for free child­care.

The lo­cal author­ity said that ap­pli­ca­tions need to be filed be­fore the end of Au­gust to be able to claim from the au­tumn term in Septem­ber on­wards.

A Hal­ton Coun­cil spokesman said that as well as the 15 free hours that all three-and-fouryear-olds are en­ti­tled to, most work­ing par­ents of chil­dren aged thee and four can re­ceive an ex­tra 15 hours, bring­ing it to a to­tal of 30 hours per week. The ex­tra en­ti­tle­ment came into ef­fect from Septem­ber last year.

It is in­tended to sup­port work­ing par­ents.

Par­ents are re­minded that they can only start claim­ing a 30-hour place for their child af­ter the date they re­ceive a de­ci­sion from HMRC.

There­fore, they should ap­ply in good time be­fore Septem­ber. Those who are ap­proved for the scheme will re­ceive an el­i­gi­bil­ity code, which they will need to take to their child­care provider.

Any ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived af­ter Au­gust 31 will not be able to claim free hours un­til Jan­uary.

Par­ents will need to re-con­firm their el­i­gi­bil­ity ev­ery three months via their Govern­ment Gate­way ac­count. They should re­ceive an email re­minder in their Govern­ment email ac­count about four weeks be­fore their el­i­gi­bil­ity code ex­piry date.

Cllr Tom McIn­er­ney (chil­dren, young peo­ple and fam­i­lies), said: “We want to make sure ev­ery­one knows what they are en­ti­tled to.”

Par­ents can find out if they qual­ify and ap­ply at www. child­care­choices.gov.uk

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