Single parents able to claim more childcare hours due to new Government funding

Posted 2 April 2024

The Government has begun rolling out the country’s biggest ever expansion in childcare. In the first stage, which launched on 1st April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of government-funded childcare.

By September 2025 the full rollout will be completed, with working parents able to access 30 hours from the end of maternity leave to when their child starts school, saving parents an average of £6,900 per year. Over 150,000 children are expected to take up the Government-funded places.

How will the Government deliver more funded childcare hours?

The Government is supporting the childcare sector to deliver this expansion by increasing the number of staff and places, introducing measures to boost the recruitment and retention of childminders, launching a major national recruitment campaign and providing over £400 million of additional investment to uplift funding rates in 2024-25. On top of this, the Government will increase rates over the next two years by an estimated £500 million, the Chancellor confirmed at the Spring Budget.

The Government is confident that the childcare sector is ready to deliver the offer and make sure parents have the childcare they need. The Government is paying a higher rate per place than parents would pay at the market rate for the new entitlements – as independently reported by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Gingerbread welcomes the childcare rollout… but it isn’t a silver bullet

Historically, the lack of affordable childcare has excluded single parents from work, education or training. In 2019, 40% of single parents found it difficult to meet their childcare costs, compared to 25% of couple households [1]. Since then, the economic impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis has only made the situation worse. Childcare costs in the UK are currently among the most expensive in all OECD countries [2]. For a single parent on minimum wage with two children, full-time childcare would take almost one third of their income, compared to less than a quarter for couple parents [3].

However, while we welcome more affordable childcare, it is not a silver bullet.

Working single parents often find that there simply aren’t enough flexible childcare places available in their local area. A single parent contacted our helpline to say she may have to give up her job as she cannot get a nursery place for her 18-month-old until September 2025.

Meanwhile, single parents in training or education are not able to claim Government-funded childcare places in the first place. We know that many single parents want to train or retrain, not just to access well paid, more flexible jobs, but also to be a role model for their children so we are working with the Early Years and Childcare Coalition to change this.

If you’d like to join an upcoming focus group with the Department for Education on this expansion (date TBC), please email



Find out more about Government-funded childcare and check eligibility