Free Childcare Places from the Scottish Government
All three and four-year-olds in Scotland are entitled to receive up to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare a year. This entitlement has also been extended to some two-year-olds. Click here for more information.
There can sometimes be a gap between your child's birthday and the date they would actually qualify for a free childcare place. This relates to timings of the school term; please contact The Advice Place for more information.
The Scottish Government has recently committed to expanding entitlement to free early learning and childcare, and has asked all Councils in Scotland to ensure that the number of hours of free care provided to eligible children is increased to 1,140 by August 2020. Some councils are currently offering this expanded provision to a limited number of parents per year. Further information on this can be found on your local council's website.
Tax Credits and Welfare Benefits
You may, depending on your circumstances, be able to access further support with the costs of childcare by claiming state benefits designed to help persons on a low income with essential costs. Please check out our benefits pages for further information.
Childcare Vouchers from Your Employer
Prior to 4th October 2018, parents were able to enrol on a state-sponsored childcare voucher scheme if they met certain criteria. This scheme allowed parents to divert a portion of their wage towards payment of vouchers for childcare. Parents who used this scheme did not need to pay tax or national insurance on the portion of their wage that had been officially diverted to go towards payment of childcare vouchers. They therefore saved on childcare costs.
This scheme is now closed to new applicants. However, parents who enrolled on this scheme prior to 4th October 2018 are able to continue to make use of it as long as -
-the parent remains with the same employer, and that employer continues to participate in the scheme
-the parent does not take an unpaid career break of longer than one year
Further information can be found here.
Childcare vouchers from your employer may affect your ability to access other support. Use this calculator to check what option will be better for you and your family.
This is a savings account provided by the government and is designed to help with the costs of childcare. For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Monies paid into this account can only be used for costs of registered childcare. Further information can be found here.