Childcare is now an expensive business with the average cost of a full time UK nursery place being over £11,000 for a child under 2. Childcare now takes up a significant chunk of most young family’s budgets, and it is not unusual for more being spent on childcare than food or mortgage payments.
HMRC, earlier this year, rolled out the childcare service website, ‘childcare choices’ which was to enable parents and carers to apply for tax free childcare of up to £2000 a child per year and also 30hours of free childcare per week, this is a digital only service, you have to apply online to open the account, and access the 30hrs of free childcare, you can not post an application or apply by phone and part of HMRC’s making tax digital programme.
The website, whose design looks great, seems to be beset with Technical problems, and has so far, has received hundreds of complaints from parents, frustrated by problems accessing important parts of the website and also login on. These technical problems have caused the chair of the treasury select committee to write to HMRC to find out what is going wrong.
Hopefully things improve with this site, but we would expect we will hear quite a bit more about this childcare site and this new regime over the next few months. We would expect people to have more of the same technical problems. Perhaps a bigger issue, is you now have to manage your childcare service accounts by reconfirming eligibility every three months, which seens an obvious point of failure, for busy working parents jugling work and family life.