§ Ms Buck
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will list the criteria for eligibility for claims under the family credit childcare disregard; and for each of the last three years(a) how many families made claims against the disregard, (b) what was the total expenditure, (c) what were the average and the median claims, (d) how many claims were made for care of children aged (i) under one year, (ii) between one and four years and (iii) of school age, (e) how many families claimed for help with child care costs for more than one child and (f) what was the average proportion of total family expenditure on childcare which was offset by family credit childcare disregard. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The eligibility criteria for the Family Credit childcare disregard are set out in Regulation 13A of the Family Credit (General) Regulations 1987.
The disregard provides help with certain childcare charges for lone parents working 16 hours or more, couples where both are working 16 hours or more and couples where one partner is working (16 hours or more) and the other is incapacitated. It applies in respect of 309W childcare charges of up to £60 per week for children until the September after the child's 1 1 th birthday. The child must be cared for by a registered childminder, nursery/play scheme, out-of-school club, a childcare scheme operating on Crown Property and schools or establishments exempt from registration under section 71 of the Children Act 1989.
From June 1998 the disregard will be enhanced by increasing the maximum childcare costs allowed to £100 for families who incur childcare 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.
All other information requested is set out in the table below.
Table 1: Family Credit claims for help with childcare May 1995 May 1996 May 1997 (a) Number of claims made 33,200 38,800 46,900 (i) Number disallowed 10,400 9,400 11,200 (ii) Number with allowable costs 22,900 29,500 35,700 (b) Total annual expenditure (millions) £14.1 £22.3 £31.4 (c) (i) Average cost to claimant of allowable childcare (£pw) £30.34 £34.61 £36.95 (ii) Median cost to claimant of allowable childcare (£pw) £28.00 £32.00 £33.75 (d) Number of claims allowed for — (i) children under one 1,200 1,700 1,800 (ii) between one and four 16,900 20,900 24,300 (iii) aged 5–11 8,200 12,000 15,900 (e) Number of claims allowed for families with costs for more than one child 3,300 4,700 5,900 (f) Average proportion of child care cost offset by Family Credit Disregard1 39 per cent. (49 per cent.) 42 per cent. (54 per cent.) 46 per cent.
Family Credit 5 per cent. sample of awards.
1 per cent. sample of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit recipients without Income Support taken at the end of May 1995 and May 1996.
All figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand and are subject to a degree of sampling error.
The figures in brackets reflect the proportion of allowable childcare costs met through Family Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Figures for May 1997 are not yet available.