Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced free childcare is being extended to those under the age of three, but will only be fully implemented by September 2025.
The provision, currently available only for three and four-year-olds, is set to cover children from nine months old and will apply to households where both parents are in work.
Jeff Fox, principal, health, health solutions UK at Aon, said: “Today the UK Government decided to butter one side of the sandwich generational challenge on childcare and eldercare. The extension of free childcare for eligible working parents of children aged nine months will be welcomed by companies looking to resolve recruitment challenges. Yet this is half the issue for many – working parents will still face challenges to meet their eldercare conflicts. This will continue to act as a drag on UK productivity.”
However, Sheila Flavell CBE, COO of FDM Group, welcomed the proposals and highlighted the positive impact it will have on working mums and the gender pay gap.
She said: “Rising childcare costs place a huge strain on working parents, forcing many women to choose between pausing their careers or paying out every penny of their net income to nannies and nursery fees.
“These proposals will empower women to continue and develop their careers alongside juggling family commitments, reducing the gender pay gap and driving economic growth.”
Like current provisions, the extension will only apply during term time, equating to 38 weeks of the year.