Here's how parents in Portsmouth can claim 30 hours of free childcare

PARENTS across the county have two weeks left to claim 30 hours of free care for their child in September.

Friday, 17th August 2018, 1:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:08 pm
You could be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare

The tax-free childcare initiative is funded by the government and applications for it must be submitted by Friday, August 31, 2018. 

It was introduced last April and allows parents and caregivers to benefit from up to £2,000 worth of care, as the government phases out childcare vouchers. 

New applications for the scheme are open to parents whose children have recently reached the age of three, or will be three by the end of August. 

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Additionally, parents who already receive the extended hours, or have applied early for a September start for their child at a nursery, pre-school or childminders, must remember to re-confirm their eligibility through their government childcare account every three months.

Keith Mans, the executive lead member for children's services at Hampshire County Council, said: '˜It is well known that early years learning through play, is an important foundation in a child's development.  '˜In Hampshire approximately 4,500 eligible children will have turned three during the summer term and school holidays.

'˜Providing parents meet the working eligibility criteria their child could be eligible for the extended hours with approved early years' education nurseries, pre-schools and childminders.

'˜However, to claim this for the autumn term which begins in September, parents must register with the Government's Childcare Choices website for an account and to apply for an eligibility code by August 31, 2018. The childcare provider will need this code so they can provide that child's funded place. '˜It is also vitally important for both new applicants and parents of under fives, who have previously enjoyed free childcare or tax-free childcare, to renew their application every three months, if they want to continue their free or tax-free childcare entitlements.'

Parents can usually get up to 30 hours funded childcare if they are: :: In work '“ or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave :: Each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week '“ this is £125.28 if they are over 25 Additionally, parents who are self-employed and started their own business less than 12 months ago will need to discuss their eligibility with HMRC direct. New applications and re-confirmations for 30 hours or tax-free childcare must be made online at childcarechoices.gov.uk.

For assistance call the Childcare Service helpline 0300 123 4097.