Have your say on the Childcare Payments Bill

Have your say on the Childcare Payments Bill
14 August 2014

Do you have views on the Government’s Childcare Payments Bill?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

Childcare Payments Bill 2014-15

Aims of the Childcare Payments Bill

The Bill introduces a new Tax-free Childcare scheme to support eligible parents with childcare costs. Under the scheme, the Government would provide 20 per cent support on costs up to £10,000 per year for each child via an online account. The Government would top-up any payments made into the account, capped at a maximum Government contribution of £2,000 a year for each child.

The scheme would be available to parents in the UK. To qualify for top-up payments, both parents, or a lone parent:

  • must be over 16 and in paid work (employed or self-employed);
  • must not be receiving support through tax credits, Universal Credit or employer-supported childcare;
  • must not be paying tax at the additional rate (For 2014-15, the additional rate is 45 per cent on income over £150,000).

Money in the account would only be permitted to be spent on 'qualifying childcare'. In addition, parents would only be able to use the account to pay for childcare that enables them to work.

Qualifying childcare would include registered or approved childcare but not care provided in the course of compulsory education. Provision for what is, or is not, to be regarded as registered or approved childcare may be made by regulations.

A person applying for a Tax-Free Childcare account would be required to make a 'declaration of eligibility' stating that they satisfy the eligibility criteria. Eligibility for the scheme would then be set for a quarterly entitlement period.

Eligible parents making payments into their childcare account would have the amounts topped-up by the Government. Where there is more than one qualifying child, separate accounts would be required.

Tax-Free Childcare would not be available to tax credit or Universal Credit claimants. The Bill includes provisions to ensure that those claimants would have their tax credit or Universal Credit award terminated when a valid declaration of eligibility was made for the purpose of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

The new scheme would replace the existing Employer-Supported Childcare (ESC) scheme (except in relation to workplace nurseries) which is delivered through a tax and National Insurance exemption, available to parents whose employers offer the scheme.

Accordingly, self-employed parents cannot benefit from the ESC scheme. Once the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme is implemented, the Bill provides powers which would be used to close ESC to new entrants.

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme is likely to be managed on behalf of the Government by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and is expected to be introduced in the autumn of 2015.

Follow the progress of the Childcare Payments Bill

The Childcare Payments Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 5 June 2014. The second reading of the Bill took place on Monday 14 July, giving MPs their first opportunity to debate the main principles of the Bill.

The Bill has now been sent to the Public Bill Committee, where detailed examination of the Bill will take place.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

Deadline for written evidence submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 14 October; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Tuesday 28 October 2014.

Please note: When the Public Bill Committee reports, it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it could report earlier than Tuesday 28 October.

What should written evidence cover?

Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware.

It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. The submission should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere.

If you have any concerns about your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).

How should written evidence be submitted?

Your submission should be emailed to [email protected]. Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee.

Submissions should be in the form of a Word document. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering.

Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered. To make publication easier, please avoid the use of coloured graphs, complex diagrams or pictures.

As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.

Please include in the covering email the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.

What will happen to my evidence?

The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill.

Most submissions will also be published on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting.

The Scrutiny Unit can help with any queries about written evidence.

Scrutiny Unit contact details

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7219 8387
Fax: 020 7219 8381
Address: Ian Hook
Senior Executive Officer
Scrutiny Unit, 7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Further information

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