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Tax-free childcare scheme 'will help 200,000 families'

From Wednesday, parents can apply for tax-free care for children under 12.

Childcare: Families eligible for up to £2000 (file pic).
Childcare: Families eligible for up to £2000 (file pic). © D Sharon Pruitt, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet

Around 200,000 working families in Scotland will be eligible for up to £2000 of childcare support per child every year, the Treasury has announced.

From Wednesday, parents, including those who are self-employed, can apply for tax-free childcare for children under 12, by visiting the website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

There they will be able to access a calculator which helps parents choose childcare support.

The Treasury says the contribution is worth up to £4000 for disabled children.

More than 190,000 parents across the UK have applied and now have a tax-free childcare account.

The account can be used to pay for regulated childcare, including nurseries, childminders, after school or holiday clubs.

For every £8 parents pay into their childcare account, the UK Government says it will add an extra £2.

Once eligible parents have opened their new account they can then start paying their childcare provider using the contribution.

Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "Tax-free childcare will cut thousands of pounds from childcare bills and is good news for working parents.

"All eligible parents with children under 12 can now apply through Childcare Choices and should take advantage of the available support."

The Scottish Government is committed to increasing free early learning and childcare provision from 60 to 1140 hours from 2020 with trials ongoing in several areas.

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