The Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) has welcomed the introduction of a new tax-free childcare scheme from autumn 2015.

While the finer detail is yet to be announced by the Government, under the new scheme, households where two parents are working and paying for registered childcare will be able to claim relief on contributions of up to £2,000 per child per year, subject to eligibility.

VPMA president Helen Sanderson (right) said: “This initiative will help both employees and employers in the veterinary sector quite a bit. Many small and medium-sized practices are put off offering the current childcare voucher scheme due to administration time and costs. This new scheme will give another option, without the associated burden of administration on the practice.

“At the same time, it will make life a little easier for working parents who rely on childcare, but aren’t eligible for the voucher scheme or whose employer doesn’t offer it. Also, by lowering eligibility to those earning £50 per week or more, it will help to encourage a return to work following maternity leave, particularly vets and nurses seeking a gradual return or part-time working.”

Under the new scheme, working parents will be able to set up a simple account into which they can pay money for registered childcare. For every 80p they pay in, the Government will top it up by 20p or 20% – the rate at which most people pay tax. The parents can then pay their registered childminder out of this fund, with the flexibility to increase and reduce payments, and draw money back out if needed (though they would lose the Government’s contribution in this instance).

The scheme is also available to the self-employed, parents on paid sick leave, paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave. Employers running the voucher scheme will be able to continue with it after the new scheme launches, but won’t be able to accept new employees on to it from autumn 2015.

For more information see www.vpma.co.uk/news and www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-free-childcare-10-things-parents-should-know

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