Buzz People

Tax-free childcare helps just a fifth of families

Just 91,000 families made use of the new Tax-Free Childcare system in December, according to new government data,
That is far below the expected number. Official figures, analysed by the BBC, show the government had planned and budgeted for 415,000 families to be using the system by October 2017.
By December 2018, just 22% of that number had signed up.
The government urged families to see if they qualified.
The shortfall is partly because the full rollout was pushed back following technical glitches with its website, but almost a year after the full rollout, take-up is still far lower than anticipated.
And while the government had initially expected 324,000 more families to sign up, far more are potentially missing out. In total, an estimated 1.3 million could qualify for the help, meaning only about one in 14 eligible families has done so.
That's costing people money - the Office for Budget Responsibility had forecast spending £800m on Tax-Free Childcare in 2017-18, but that was revised down to £37m specifically because of low take-up.
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