Wed 15 March 2023 14:42, UK

A new UK scheme means all children over nine months will get 30 hours of free childcare per week, but when does the policy start?

It comes at part of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget which he revealed to Parliament and the public today, March 15.

He has confirmed the energy price guarantee will be extended for another three months and there are changes to pensions too.

However, his free childcare plan is the most-talked about, which aims to help parents return to work – but it won’t come in for a long time…

Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

When will 30 hours free childcare start?

Jeremy Hunt’s $40 billion childcare budget doesn’t come into force until April 2024, and that’s only part of it.

The scheme is being staggered, becoming available to some parents in April 2024, others in September 2024 and more in September 2025.

  • April 2024: 15 hours free childcare to all children aged 2
  • September 2024: 15 hours free childcare to all children from 9 months to 3
  • September 2025: 30 hours free childcare to all children from 9 months to 5

“Because it is such a large reform, we will introduce it in stages to ensure there is enough supply in the market,” the politician said.

Who is eligible?

The scheme will be available for households where adults are working at least 16 hours and follow the same eligibility as the current policy for three and four year olds.

At the moment, only three and four year olds get 15 or 30 hours of free childcare depending on parental circumstances, but the Chancellor is eventually extending this to every from nine months to five.

The 30 hours offer will start from the moment maternity or paternity leave ends and reduce childcare costs by nearly 60%.

Credit: Getty

Jeremy Hunt unveils childcare scheme

“I today announce that in eligible households where all adults are working at least 16 hours, we will introduce 30 hours of free childcare not just for three- and four-year-olds, but for every single child over the age of nine months,” the Chancellor said on Downing Street.

“It’s a package worth on average £6,500 every year for a family with a two-year-old child using 35 hours of childcare every week and reduces their childcare costs by nearly 60%,” he continued.

“Working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free care from April 2024, helping around half a million parents.”

“From September 2024, that 15 hours will be extended to all children from nine months up, meaning a total of nearly one million parents will be eligible.”

“And from September 2025 every single working parent of under 5s will have access to 30 hours free childcare per week.”