Date last updated: 20 October 2017


Depending on your situation and your financial circumstances, your childcare options can vary as your income changes and as your child gets older.

The type of scheme that is available to you depends on whether you’re working, how much you earn, how many hours you work and whether you are getting tax credits or universal credit.

You can combine some of the schemes below, depending on your situation.

15 and 30 hours childcare schemes

The government is extending the current 15 hours term-time childcare scheme for some parents of three and four year olds.

The website has more information on the 15 and 30 hours childcare schemes, including whether your family is eligible for the 30 hour scheme.

Childcare for 2 year olds if you’re on a low income

If your child is under 2 and you are claiming benefits, you may be entitled to free childcare. Find out how to claim free childcare.

Childcare vouchers and tax free childcare

The childcare voucher scheme is being replaced with a new scheme called Tax Free Childcare. Find out what the Tax Free Childcare scheme involves, and how it might work for you.

Tax credits and universal credit

If you are working more than 16 hours a week, you might be eligible to claim working tax credits to help pay for childcare. Read our factsheet on tax credits if you’re working for more information.

Tax credits will be gradually replaced with a new scheme, called universal credit. Under universal credit, support for childcare is greater than under tax credits – with up to 85% of your childcare covered by universal credit compared to a maximum of 70% under tax credits. Find out more about how universal credit will affect your childcare.

Have specific questions about childcare?

Further information on childcare

Our factsheet can give you more information on paying for childcare through tax credits and universal credit.

Read the factsheet

Interactive guide to childcare

The website has an interactive guide to help you work out what type of childcare most suits you, and what financial help is available to help you cover the costs.

Use the interactive guide

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