Childcare policy and its influence on the economy inquiry launched
4 January 2018
The Treasury Committee is launches a new inquiry into childcare policy and its influence on the economy.
The Committee will examine the role high quality, accessible, flexible and affordable childcare can play in supporting labour productivity.
It will scrutinise the processes around how childcare schemes are delivered and the quality of childcare interfaces—such as the Childcare Service website and their previous failures.
It will also consider the overall package of Government initiatives that aim to make childcare affordable, how the individual initiatives interact with each other and their effectiveness, and whether they have delivered an adequate provision of affordable childcare that facilitates parental employment.
The first evidence session of this inquiry will be on 31 January 2018 with Rt Hon. Elizabeth Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, with responsibility for childcare policy.
Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:
"High quality and affordable childcare is important for getting parents into work and supporting working families. The Treasury Committee will look at how it delivers benefits to the economy and supports labour productivity and participation.
We'll also look at the effectiveness of Government initiatives at making childcare accessible and affordable.
There had been reports of problems with the HMRC-run Childcare Service website, which has been a cause for concern. We'll examine the impact of these failures on the take-up of Government initiatives that aim to make childcare affordable."
Terms of Reference
This inquiry will examine childcare policy in the context of labour productivity, and childcare policy implementation, principally covering:
- The role of high quality, accessible, flexible and affordable childcare can play in supporting labour productivity.
- The processes around how childcare schemes are delivered and the quality of childcare interfaces (such as the Childcare Service Website) and their previous failures.
- The overall package of Government initiatives that aim to make childcare affordable (i.e. Tax Free Childcare, Childcare Vouchers, 30 Hour Free Childcare, and the Childcare element of Universal Credit), how the individual initiatives interact with each other and their effectiveness, and whether they have delivered an adequate provision of affordable childcare that facilitates parental employment.
Some of the key questions the Committee will consider in this inquiry include:
- What are the mechanisms through which dependable and high quality childcare could improve labour productivity?
- What impact is a lack of access to affordable childcare having on the ability of parents to enter into employment?
- What proportion of parents are struggling to find affordable and high quality childcare?
- What is causing the poor take-up of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme when compared to initial government projections?
- How does the Tax-Free Childcare scheme interact with the 30 Hour Free Childcare scheme and how are parents using these schemes?
- Did the IT failures on the Childcare Service Website affect the administration of Tax-Free Childcare accounts and/ or impact those trying to open a Tax-Free Childcare account?
- Did the IT failures on the Childcare Service Website affect the administration of applications for the 30 Hour Free Childcare Scheme?
- Have all eligible applicants for the 30 Hour Free Childcare entitlement received the benefit?
- Has the Government provided sufficient funding for the 30 Hour Free Childcare scheme?
- What has the impact of increasing the free hour entitlement from 15 to 30 been on the participation of parents in the labour market and on the economy?
- What other measures could the Government implement to ensure that the childcare market provides an affordable and high quality offer that supports parental employment (for example, should further childcare support be provided to parents on apprenticeships or other training schemes)?
Submitting written evidence
If you wish to submit written evidence, the deadline to do so is Friday 9 February 2017.
Evidence can be submitted via the inquiry page.