The government are concerned about the lack of take up of tax-free childcare accounts, with HMRC estimating that only about 25% of families eligible for the scheme had joined.

With many parents returning to work following the pandemic, they should be encouraged to set up a tax free childcare account to help with their childcare costs. For every £8 paid into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year and that money must be used to pay eligible childcare costs.

Tax-free childcare is available for working families (including the self-employed) who are not receiving tax credits, universal credit or childcare vouchers.

It can also be used at the same time as the 15 or 30 hours of free childcare in England. The couple (or single parent) must earn at least £142 per week each. Their children must be under 12 (or under16 if disabled).

The account can be used to pay for nursery fees, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, summer camps and OFSTED registered childminders.

Note that the tax-free childcare scheme is not available if either partner expects to individually earn more than £100,000 a year.