HC Deb 27 April 1998 vol 311 cc59-60W
33. Mr. Burgon

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement on Government initiatives to help parents pay for child care during the last year. [38513]

Ms Ruddock

Child care is a priority for the Ministers for Women and we have worked with colleagues across government in the last year on initiatives to help parents, particularly women, with paying for childcare.

The Government announced in March that a new Child care Tax Credit will be introduced from October 1999, as part of Working Families Tax Credit. This will cover 70 per cent. of all weekly childcare costs up to an overall limit of £100 for families with a single child and £150 for multi-child families. The tax credit will replace the child care disregard in Family Credit and other income-related benefits.

In addition, the Chancellor announced a major boost to child care in the Pre-Budget statement in November. £300 million is being made available to set up 30,000 out of school projects, which will provide places for up to one million children. Out of school clubs for children before and after school, and in the holidays. This is a tenfold

Number of tribunals attended and unattended by the appellant and/or a representative
Appeals heard All attendances Not attended
Quarter ending (Total number) (Total number) (Per cent.) (Total number) (Per cent.)
31 December 28,048 17,470 62.29 10,578 37.71
31 March 25,586 15,907 62.17 9,679 37.83
30 June 1997 31,507 17,092 54.25 14,415 45.75
30 September 36,053 15,962 44.27 20,091 55.73

increase on existing provision, and will mean that every child in Britain will have access to out of school child care in their community.

In the meantime, from June 1998, the Family Credit child care disregard will be enhanced by increasing the maximum child care costs allowed to £100 for families who incur child care costs for two or more children of qualifying age and extending the age limit by one year to the September following the child's 12th birthday.

Since July 1997, lone parents participating in the New Deal for Lone Parents programme have also been eligible for help with childcare costs of up to £60 per week (or £100 per week for two or more children from June 1998) while undertaking various activities helping them secure a job, for example attending job interviews; attending an interview with the Personal Adviser and attending certain kinds of training courses or programmes.

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