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1.9m grandparents took leave 'to care for grandchildren'

Some 1.9 million grandparents have been forced to give up a job, reduce their working hours or taken holiday to care for their grandchildren, it has emerged.

Childcare
These figures suggest that grandparents have given a total of £8bn in the past year for a range of grandchildren's needs. Credit: PA

According to an Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by charities Grandparents Plus, Save the Children, and The Family and Childcare Trust, elderly relatives are cutting into their work to provide free childcare.

Expert pointed to the rise in childcare - 27%, as the root cause behind the growth in elderly childcare.

The survey also found grandparents were spending 12% of 1,000 on their grandchildren every year, with a further 17% spending between £500 and £1,000.

SNP childcare plans 'leave 21,000 job shortfall'

Plans by the Scottish government to get more women into work by providing free childcare involve "wishful thinking" in their costing, the Treasury has said.

The SNP has pledged to provide all three and four-year-olds, and vulnerable two-year-olds, with 1,140 hours of childcare per year by 2020.

It estimates that the policy could result in about 104,000 women entering employment and an additional £700 million in tax revenue which would help pay for the additional childcare.

But Treasury analysts said of the mothers affect by the policy only around 83,000 are not employed.

Even if every mother out of work moved into work - in itself highly unlikely - there would still be a shortfall of 21,000.

– Treasury analysts

A spokesman for Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

In terms of our childcare commitments and boosting the number of women in work, it is our commitment to stop wasting money on Trident and on contributing to the running costs of Westminster that gives us the ability to invest in these other priorities.

– A spokesman for Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney

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Scottish independence childcare plans 'don't add up'

Childcare proposals for an independent Scotland aren't financially sound, according to analysts at the Treasury.

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The SNP estimates that the policy could mean enough women enter work to add £700 million in extra tax revenue. Credit: PA

The Scottish Government has pledged to provide widespread childcare, and estimates that the policy could result in about 104,000 women entering employment.

But as part of analysis of the fiscal implications of a Yes vote in the referendum, the Treasury says this number will be significantly lower.

The Treasury's analysis comes after a paper by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) published in April stated that the Scottish Government had provided no evidence that its plan would get more women out to work.

Clegg: Childcare scheme built 'for working families'

The childcare tax break announced by the Government is designed "for working families", the Deputy Prime Minister told Daybreak.

Nick Clegg said the Government "had never hidden" that tax breaks worth £2,000 per child were targeted at working parents, as opposed to families with one adult staying at home to look after their children.

"It is important I think to provide support to those parents who are working or maybe want to work more to allow them to do so. This of course will give them that extra bit of support so if they want to work some more, they can indeed do so."

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'85% of childcare costs' covered for benefit claimants

The bulk of childcare costs for 300,000 families on Universal Credit will be paid for, the Coalition has announced.

David Cameron
Tax free childcare was part of the Coalition's long-term economic plan. Credit: PA

The Government pledged to increase free childcare for some of the UK's poorest families by raising the amount they would cover from 70% to 85%.

Children's charity Barnardo's hailed as a "double victory" for the poorest families, while Prime Minister David Cameron said the move would "help millions".

Details of how that would be funded "from within the Universal Credit programme" would be set out at the time of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Number 10 said.

Labour: Childcare tax break 'too little too late'

Labour has blasted the Government's extension of working couples childcare tax break and says its introduction after the 2015 general election will be "too little, too late".

Shadow minister for children Lucy Powell explained:

David Cameron has cut support for children and families by £15 billion since he came to office.

And today he confirms that no help will arrive until after the election. This is too little too late.

Of course any childcare support is welcome but this Government has done nothing in this Parliament to help parents experiencing a cost-of-living crisis.

Childcare costs have spiralled by 30% since 2010 and the Tories have rejected Labour's plan for 25 hours' free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds.

– Lucy Powell

Read: How the childcare tax break will work

How the childcare tax break will work

  • Parents will be excluded from paying the basic rate of income tax of 20% on childcare costs of up to £10,000 - up from the proposed £6,000.
  • Self-employed and part-time workers will be covered by setting the lower earnings threshold at £50 per week.
  • The existing voucher scheme will continue for those already using it but be closed to new entrants.

Read: Govt extends childcare tax break to include under-12s

Govt extends childcare tax break to include under-12s

A tax break for working parents trying to meet childcare costs will be more generous than expected and include all children under the age of 12, the Government has announced.

Read: Affordable childcare 'could save £1.5billion a year'

Childcare
The childcare scheme is for families with two working parents. Credit: PA

The new scheme will be worth £2,000 per child, instead of the £1,200 that was first proposed and will be brought in by the Autumn of 2015.

Announced just ahead of Wednesday's annual budget speech, the Government will extend the cut off age from five-years-old to include all children under 12.

Around 1.9 million families could benefit, twice as many as under the present voucher scheme which is only available where adopted by an employer.

But the policy has faced criticism for excluding couples where one parent does not work and being available to high-earning households with a joint income of up to £300,000.

Read: Childcare costs 'outstrip mortgage payments'

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