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Statement: Save the Children UK welcomes the chancellor’s announcement childcare costs to be paid upfront for parents on Universal Credit

Saturday 11 March, London – Save the Children UK welcomes the plan announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to introduce changes to benefit system for parents receiving Universal Credit childcare support.

The proposal to remove upfront childcare fees should support hundreds of thousands of parents and carers to move into work or increase their hours, easing a long-fought battle to balance the need for employment and costs of childcare. 

Dan Paskins, director of UK Impact, said: "The UK Government has made the right decision in deciding to pay childcare fees for those on Universal Credit upfront rather than in arrears. This system was stopping people getting into work and putting people into debt. 

"We're delighted also for Save the Children's parent campaigners who have spent years trying to get this system changed and given evidence many times in person about how this system has been negatively impacting their lives. 

"This is good for families, good for our economy and most of all, good news for children.  It is a simple and effective change which will help put money in families’ pockets and make life easier for parents juggling work and childcare."

Since 2018 Save the Children UK's parent campaigner group, initially known as Mums on a Mission, has been campaigning for change to the childcare system for parents on Universal Credit. 

They made many representations to the government, including recently giving evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, where they explained how the system stopped them getting into work and pushed them into debt.

Save the Children UK parent campaigner and mum-of-four Tasha Thomas from Wiltshire said: "I am so relieved. A whole weight has been lifted now. It means I haven't got to worry. It means I will be able to pay my bills and increase my hours because I will be able to afford childcare without worrying about the upfront costs."

This week a YouGov poll carried out for Save the Children UK found that 54% of surveyed mothers were forced to cut their working hours because childcare is too expensive. A quarter of parents surveyed (25%) who receive Universal Credit said they would move into employment if childcare was made more affordable.