All in work parents, including self-employment, can open a tax-free childcare account - read more about the options here. From today parents with children under 12 years of age can open an account and have their contributions topped up by the government.
Top ups are worth 20 percent from the government, up to £2,000 per year per child (or £4,000 per year per disabled child). The Government essentially adds £2 for every £8 deposited into the account. Funds in the account are then used to pay for childcare of all forms including nurseries, childminders as well as after school and holiday clubs.Nearly 200,000 parents have registered to use the new scheme already and use it to supplement the already available 30 hours of free childcare, childcare tax credits and universal credit support schemes.
Registered providers of childcare will also need to sign up for the scheme, if not already, in order to be able to receive payments from the government topped-up accounts.
Parents need to be aware that unless they sign into their online childcare account dashboard at least once every three months the government top-ups will stop.
For parents using childcare vouchers these are still available to existing users but closed to new registrants and will only be available as long as their employers continue to support them.
Register for your account at Childcare Choices online.