Saturday, 27 Feb 2021

What you parents helping out with childcare actually saves you

Parents helping you out by looking after your children can save you as much as £11,000 a year.

That's according to a new tool designed to let mums and dads work out exactly how much they'd need to pay to replace the job their parents do.

Sam Higgin, from Prezzybox.com, who built the tool, said: “Working parents in the UK that rely on their family for all or some of their childcare might not always realise how much of a privileged position they are in."

The Nana Nursery Calculator lets mums and dads enter the county they are from as well as the number and ages of their children to calculate the cost of replacing their parents' work.

The tool then takes your 30 hours' free childcare allowance into account, along with how long your children spend with their grandparents.

And the costs can add up fast.

For example, someone in London with one child under 3 being looked after for 5 days a week id effectively saving £242 a week, or £11,374 a year.

"We just hope this tool goes a little way in helping to appreciate just how lucky they are to have loved ones willing to sacrifice their free time or retirement to benefit their next of kin,” Higgin said.


  • Parents on Universal Credit can get £1,108 a month to help with childcare costs

  • One million families missing out on £2,000 worth of free childcare every year

For people not lucky enough to have parents or other relatives on hand to provide exra childcare, there are three main schemes to support them.

Tax-free childcare launched in April 2017 to support parents in England with childcare costs. It's now replaced the Childcare Vouchers salary sacrifice – which is no longer available to new parents.

The scheme aims help working parents with childcare expenses. It can be used to pay for approved childcare, such as childminders, nurseries and nannies, after school clubs and play schemes, and home care agencies.

To apply, you'll have to go through Childcare Choices. If successful, you'll be asked to open an NS&I account which you can then pay cash into to pay your childcare provider (providing they're registered with Childcare Choices).

For every £8 that families or friends pay in, the Government will make a top-up payment of an additional £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 a child each year (or £4,000 for if the child has a disability).

You can find out more about tax free childcare, here


  • Child benefit is rising in April – millions to see rates go up after 4 year freeze

Thirty-hours-free-childcare is another scheme designed to support working parents – it launched in September 2017.

The scheme allows all working parents in England to claim an extra 15 hours a week in care for free.

To apply for any of the above, parents must both be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.

See more about 30 hours free childcare, here.

People on Universal Credit are also entitled to childcare support.

Jobcentres allow you to claim up to 85% of the money you spend on childcare back to cover the costs of looking after the little ones.

In fact, working parents can get up to £646.35 a month back for a single child and up to £1,108.04 a month back for two or more children.

To find out if you are eligible and start your claim, you need to speak to your jobcentre work coach and give them some details about your childcare provider and the costs of your childcare.

You can see more information on the Childcare Choices website and the Government's Understanding Universal Credit pages.

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