The number of families who will benefit from the government’s prized 30 hours free childcare offer has been cut by a third as a result of cost-saving changes to the eligibility threshold.
Under the original terms of the offer, as many as 600,000 families were said to benefit, but changes outlined by George Osborne in the spending review mean that only 390,000 families will now be able take advantage of the scheme.
The government has set a new upper income limit of £100,000 a parent, down from £150,000 in the original proposal. In addition, parents will qualify only if they work at least 16 hours a week, up from the eight hours previously stipulated.
The changes are expected to result in savings of £215m for the Department for Education by 2020. There is unlikely to be outrage on behalf of parents denied access to the scheme because they earn more than £100,000 a year, but the doubling of working hours has raised fears that parents could be put off going back to work.
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