Reduce your childcare bill

There are lots of different ways of reducing the cost of childcare but it can be confusing to know where you stand. Local Area Teams Information Service (formerly York FIS) provide free and impartial information on the different options for parents and carers. We've collected together some of the main ways of reducing your childcare costs and also where you can find more information.

Childcare choices - National website with lots of information to help you reduce your childcare bill
The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support.

Funded childcare places for eligible two year olds

Since September 2013 there have been funded childcare places for some two year olds. From September 2014 more families may be eligible to receive funded childcare places for their two year-olds. Families may qualify depending on certain benefits they may be claiming. 

From September 2014 this now includes children who attract Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or who has an Education, Health and Care Plan or a child who is looked after by the Local Authority, has left care through adoption orders, child arrangement orders or special guardianship order.

Application forms are available online, in your local children’s centres, GP surgeries and childcare settings.

Funded Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds (Early Years Education)

All families are entitled to up to 15 hours of "early education" for 38 weeks of the year from the term after their child turns three. It's simple to take up and can make a massive difference to your bill.

30 Hours Extended Funded Entitlement 

From 1st September 2017, working families may be entitled to 30 hours Extended Funded Entitlement (EFE) for 38 weeks of the year.

Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust is a national charity working for families to get high quality and affordable childcare. They have a fantastic website that has loads of information on all the different ways of reducing your childcare bill. website

Information about various ways to get help with your childcare bill.

Support for working parents

Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit provides a top up to wages for those on low incomes. Extra help is available for working parents through a childcare element, which can help with the cost of registered or approved childcare. From the 1st April 2011 it can offer up to 70 per cent towards the costs of eligible childcare up to a maximum level of £175 per week for 1 child and £300 per week for 2 or more children. You may be able to claim the childcare element of Working Tax Credit:

  • If you are lone parent you must work 16 hours or more per week.
  • If you are part of a couple, both you and your partner need to be in paid employment of 16 or more hours per week. However, you will also be eligible if 1 of you works 16 or more hours per week and the other does not work, but is an in-patient in hospital, in prison or incapacitated for childcare purposes

Disabled child element of Child Tax Credit

If you are claiming Disability Living Allowance for your child, you may also be able to claim extra support through the disabled child element of Child Tax Credit. There are two elements:

  • disabled child element - for each child within the family receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)  or who is registered blind; and
  • a severely disabled child element - in addition to the disabled child element, for each child within the family who is receiving the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.

To find out how much you could claim call the Tax Credits Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or use HMRCs Tax Credits online calculator

Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country and includes a childcare element.  For more information, please visit


Through your employer

Childcare vouchers

Many employers support their staff with their childcare needs, including providing financial assistance. The most common way is where you can buy up to £55 a week of childcare vouchers directly from your pay. The part of your earnings you get in a voucher is free from tax and National Insurance. Please note that childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you can get. This online calculator can help you decide whether you would be better off taking the vouchers or not.

Talk to your manager about what support they offer with childcare costs. If your manager does not know about childcare vouchers then please give them our number at the Local Area Teams Information Service (formerly York FIS) (01904 554444) and we can give them information about setting up a voucher scheme.

Flexible Working

There is no absolute right to work part time. However, you have the right to ask to work flexibly in your current job, and your employer has a duty to consider your request seriously, if you are:

- an employee who has worked for your employer for 26 weeks and has a child under 17 (or a disabled child under 18 who gets Disability Living Allowance)

- an employee who has worked for your employer for 26 weeks and cares for a disabled adult.

The right to request is available to both men and women, and covers the hours an employee works, the times s/he is required to work and the place of work (i.e. home or a workplace). It is important to understand that a change granted under the right to request is permanent - if you want a temporary change only this must be specifically negotiated with your employer.

Even if you do not have the right to request (for example, you have not worked for your employer for long enough), you can still ask to change your pattern of work, and sex discrimination law may apply if you are turned down.

For more information about flexible working contact York Family Information Service01904 554444. You can also contact Working Families on 0800 013 0313 for advice on your rights at work.


York Family Information Service and Information Service for Young People

01904 554444 / 01904 555400

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