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This note provides an overview of Government childcare policies since 2010. It is one of two notes that replace a previously existing note on support for childcare since 1997. The other, SN/SP/6382, provides information on support for childcare under the Labour Government in office from 1997-2010.

This note gives an overview of Government policies on childcare since 2010. It covers:

• Early years provision

• Local authority duties in relation to childcare provision

• Extended schools

• Tax relief for childcare

• Help with childcare costs through tax credits and predecessor programmes

• Proposals for providing help with childcare costs under Universal Credit

For ease of reference, there is some repetition of material contained in the Library note on childcare policy under the Labour Government, where the policy of the previous Government is required as background.

The sections on early years provision, local authority duties and extended schools cover England only. The sections on tax relief and tax credits apply to the United Kingdom as a whole. The childcare provisions in Universal Credit will apply across England, Wales and Scotland. Social security is a transferred matter under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, although there is a long-standing policy of parity in this area. A Welfare Reform Bill is currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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