Just in case you have missed the legal challenges made to rein back the new tax-free child care plans, the government (Wednesday 1 July) welcomed a judgment from the Supreme Court that found the government’s proposals for delivering Tax-Free Childcare to be clearly lawful.
It also confirmed that, as a direct result of the legal challenge, the scheme is now expected to launch from early 2017. The existing Employer Supported Childcare scheme will remain open to new entrants until Tax-Free Childcare is launched.
As a result of the legal action, the court placed a suspension on the development of the scheme which prevented key delivery steps from taking place. This legal action was brought by a small group of childcare voucher providers involved in the delivery of the scheme that Tax-Free Childcare will eventually replace.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Damian Hinds said:
We are pleased that the government’s proposals for delivering Tax-Free Childcare have been found to be clearly lawful. This government is absolutely clear on the importance of supporting families with their childcare costs.
It is disappointing that some organisations involved in the existing scheme felt the need to take and persist in this costly and wasteful course of action, which has led to a delay in the launch of Tax-Free Childcare.
We are now pressing ahead with the scheme as part of our ongoing commitment to support working families.
Tax-Free Childcare is part of the government’s long-term plan to support working families and will provide up to 1.8 million families across the UK with up to £2,000 of childcare support per year, per child, via a new simple online system.
The government is clear on the importance of supporting families with their childcare costs. Spending on childcare was increased by £1 billion in the last Parliament and the government has also committed to doubling free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds to 30 hours a week.
Background to the legal challenge:
• a legal challenge was brought against the government’s decision to deliver the Tax-Free Childcare accounts through HMRC working in partnership with NS&I
• some organisations involved in the existing Employer-Supported Childcare scheme decided to pursue challenges against the government’s decision to deliver Tax-Free Childcare accounts by HMRC and NS&I working in partnership, and NS&I’s use of an existing outsourcing contract to deliver childcare accounts
• the Supreme Court “unanimously dismisses their appeal”
• formal arrangements have now been made between HMRC and NS&I and they are pressing ahead to deliver Tax-Free Childcare as soon as possible
• exact rollout details for Tax-Free Childcare will be confirmed in due course
• Employer Supported Childcare, often referred to as childcare vouchers, will remain open to new entrants until Tax-Free Childcare launches. Parents who wish to remain in Employer-Supported Childcare once Tax-Free Childcare is launched will be able to, while their current employer continues to offer the voucher scheme
• workplace nurseries will be unaffected by the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare