14 March 2018
DUP South Belfast MP Emma Little-Pengelly has welcomed a decision by the Government to delay a planned closure of the Childcare Voucher Scheme. It was originally due to close on 6 April 2018 but this will now be delayed for at least six months.
This delay was confirmed to the South Belfast MP in the House of Commons this evening by the Education Secretary Damien Hinds MP.
Speaking from Westminster Mrs Little-Pengelly said,
“Whilst this Scheme has been far from perfect and flaws have been identified, it has nonetheless been beneficial for those working parents availing of child care. Each parent could use up to £55 per week from their pre-tax salary and allocate it to pay for childcare.
Concerns had been raised by Employers for Childcare as well as users of the Childcare Voucher Scheme about the proposed April 2018 closure. Whilst the Scheme would continue for existing recipients, analysis from Employers for Childcare indicated some families would be better off under the existing Childcare Voucher Scheme rather than the new Tax-free Childcare scheme.
The DUP is delighted that the Government has agreed with our proposal to delay the Scheme’s closure for a period of at least 6 months. This period will be used to address concerns raised about the Scheme and to look at new provisions to address childcare accessibility and affordability in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom.”