Header - County Councillor Jayne Rear

Lancashire parents encouraged to check eligibility for help with childcare costs

Working parents in Lancashire who are eligible for Universal Credit can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs.

Lancashire County Council is encouraging parents to check their eligibility for a range of schemes that offer funded early education and help with childcare costs.

Families can claim back childcare costs of up to £646 for one child and £1108 for two or more children per month. The support runs from birth to children under 16 (or under 17 and disabled) to help families on lower incomes to work. It can be used to meet the costs of before and after school clubs as well as nursery, pre-school and childminder costs.

This is in addition to the 15 funded hours with a childminder or nursery for eligible 2 year olds, and 15 or 30 hours for 3 and 4 year olds.

Most working families are entitled to Tax Free Childcare via an online payment account, topped up by the Government, which parents must use solely to pay their childcare costs. For every £8 that families pay in, the Government will make a top-up payment of £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

Rachel Culverwell, a mum of two young boys from Burnley, recently accessed a funded childcare place. She said:

"The funding meant we were both able to return to work without added financial pressure and carry on with our lives as working parents.

"I've seen so many benefits from the boys attending nursery and it's important for me to see they are being well looked after in a warm, nurturing environment. They have really developed in confidence and their ability to play well with other children, sharing and taking turns."

County Councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

"We appreciate that many families are finding it difficult to make ends meet in times of rising costs so we want to make them aware of what help may be available to them. As well as supporting parents to work, this funding means that their children can access a high-quality education and childcare provider of their choice.

"It can be confusing to know what childcare options and help with costs apply to you, as it varies depending on your circumstances. Our Family Information Service are on hand to provide advice and talk parents through the process.  Families can contact them on 0300 123 6712 or email FIS@lancashire.gov.uk

"All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours per week and most working families 30 hours. If families aren't sure if they qualify for a funded place, I urge them to use our eligibility checker to make sure they aren't missing out."

Lancashire parents can go to Lancashire County Council's website to view the criteria and check their eligibility for a two-year-old funded place.

Find out more about help with childcare costs and funded places for two, three & four-year-olds.

Notes to editors

Two videos of Rachel Culverwell talking about her experiences of using a 2-year-old funded childcare place are available:

Rachel’s story: https://youtu.be/WPa0BWS-wms

Benefits for families: https://youtu.be/LAOiCr5r4j8

Eligibility for the 2 year old funding depends on individual family circumstances, and those eligible can claim a funded place from the term after their child's second birthday. Any child who turned two by the end of December 2022 could be eligible for a funded place with a local nursery or childminder in January 2023.

The claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs offer applies if you are eligible for Universal Credit. You (and your partner if you live with them) will usually need to either be working (it does not matter how many hours you or your partner work) or have a job offer.