More financial help for children and families in 2021

Children playing with Lego
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Jersey States members have approved a range of measures to help children and families struggling with the cost of living.Several amendments to the Government Plan were accepted by the Government, and others were voted for by the Assembly. If the Plan is approved, as amended, the measures will come into force from next year.The Government Plan sets the spending, taxation and borrowing plans for the next four years, including the budget for 2021.Members approved two amendments from the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, giving greater two tax breaks to parents. The threshold for Child Care Tax Relief increases from £6,150 to £6,273 for parents of 4-12 year olds, and from £16,000 to £16,320 for children under 4.The panel also succeeded in raising the amount parents can earn before they are taxed by £60.The panel said the measures "will provide help to families dealing with the rising cost of living who may also be struggling due to the pandemic. This is in line with the Government’s strategic priority to “Put Children First” and is particularly important to help negate the financial impacts of COVID-19."Before the debate began, the Government accepted amendments to keep funding for the Jersey Premium and Care Leavers at the current levels, rather than reduce them.Plans to extend free nursery hours for children aged 3-4 from 20 hours a week to 30 from September 2021, which were announced last week, will be funded by money set aside for Early Years in the Government Plan.An attempt to extend the pilot scheme for free school meals will be debated later this week.