Help with childcare costs

There are many ways in which the government can help you pay towards your childcare costs

Families of children aged two and receiving some additional form of government support may be able to claim up to 15 hours per week of free early learning during the term time.  This can be pro-rota throughout the year to accommodate parents working hours.

Since April 2024 working parents of two year olds may be eligible for up to 15 hours of funded childcare and 30 hours for three and four year olds.  

September 2024 will see more children being able to access the free early learning offer for free childcare. Children between nine and 23 months old can apply for the Code from 12 May 2025.  This will increase to 30 hours per week from September 2025.

Full details can be found on our Family information service page.

Help with childcare costs

You can get help paying for childcare if it’s provided by a:

  • registered childminder, play scheme, nursery or club
  • childminder with an Ofsted-registered childminding agency
  • registered school
  • home care worker working for a registered home care agency.

These are known as approved childcare.

Childcare calculator

This calculator will guide you to finding the right support for you.

Childcare calculator

Employers for Childcare

Whether it’s help with choosing childcare, help with childcare costs or finding employment and benefits advice – contact the helpline on 0800 028 3008 or visit the weblink

Employers for Childcare

Childcare Choices

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support.

Find out about Childcare Choices

How the government childcare offers interact

Sources of help

Help available Level of support Recipient group
Working Tax Credit You may be able to claim for approved childcare. Up to £122.50 (1 child) or £210 (2 or more children) a week.
More information about Working Tax Credit
You can’t get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.
Universal Credit

You may be able to get help with upfront childcare costs, interview clothing, support with travel costs, digital exclusion etc.

Universal Credit childcare costs - GOV.UK (

Speak to your Work Coach about upfront help costs. They will contact your childcare provider directly.

Do not pay any childcare costs before speaking to your Work Coach.

Tax Free Childcare For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2 up to £2,000 per child per year.
More information about Tax Free Childcare
Working parents can either apply for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare.
Care to Learn You can get up to £175 per child per week if you live in London.
Apply online
Parents under 20 at school or in further education.
Discretionary Learner Support Your learning provider (for example, college) decides how much you get. It depends on their scheme and your circumstances. You need to apply directly to your learning provider. Parents over 20 in further education.
Childcare Grant You can get up to 85% of your childcare costs. 
Apply online
You must be eligible for student finance.