Budget 2017: free childcare and free school transport to be extended
Free childcare for three and four-year-olds will double from 15 to 30 hours a week for working families in England, it’s been announced in today’s Budget.
The move takes force from September 2017 and is worth up to £5,000 per child, according to the government.
This is in addition to the government’s Tax-Free childcare scheme, which will be rolled out shortly. This will see working families with children under 12 provided with up to £2,000 a year to help with childcare costs.
Meanwhile, it’s also been announced that children aged 11 to 16 who receive free school meals or whose parents claim the maximum working tax credit, will get free transport to attend their closest selective school, if it’s between two and 15 miles away from their home.
Children aged eight to 16 are already entitled to free transport to their closest suitable school, if they live more than three miles away.
Those travelling to their nearest school on faith or belief grounds also get free transport.
More students to be entitled to maintenance loans
Today’s Budget also revealed that the government will provide maintenance loans – like those for university students – for students taking higher-level (levels four to six) technical courses at National Colleges and Institutes of Technology, from 2019/20.
The government also confirmed that from 2018, part-time undergraduate students will be eligible for maintenance loans while studying, and doctoral loans of up to £25,000 will also be provided.