Who gets 15 and 30 hours of free childcare and how do I apply?


The government is offering a cash incentive of £600 to those who become childminders (or £1,200 for those joining via an agency).

The Department for Education doesn’t yet have figures for the numbers who have signed up, but says childcare staffing rose by 4% across 2023 as a whole, external. However, the number of childminders – those providing early years care in homes – has continued to decrease.

It adds that while the latest Office for National Statistics data shows the total population of 0-5 year olds has fallen 1% per year from 2018 to 2022, the number of childcare places increased by 40,000 between 2018 and 2023.

In the 2024 Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government would guarantee payments to childcare providers for two years to help provide stability.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said Labour would not commit to honouring the government’s childcare plan if it wins the next general election, because she does not believe the necessary spaces will be available.



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