Being a working single mum is tough – here's how you can get your childcare costs paid upfront on Universal Credit | The Sun

HAVING children is unquestionably the best thing I have ever done.

The joy of family is indescribable, as many parents reading this will know.

But, at times, it is also the biggest challenge in my life.

It can be really hard – particularly as a single working mum.

And then combining that with a demanding, 24/7 job like being a constituency MP and Government Minister – things can be incredibly difficult to juggle.

My kids are now in their teens, which makes things somewhat easier. But for many parents, the only option is suitable childcare.

And we know the right childcare can be very expensive and a barrier to re-entering the workplace.

It’s so hard to hear about any parent who has felt they have been left without a real choice for their families, and their only option is to stay out of work because they've been unable to find a way to combine their family life and working life.

That’s why I am so passionate about the Government making a real difference to working parents, and we have some important updates as the summer holidays get closer.

We’re making significant changes to Universal Credit to help the lowest-paid into work and to progress in their employment.

The amount we can pay claimants each month for their childcare costs is rising by almost 50 per cent from 28 June.

This represents one of the biggest changes to the benefits system this decade, directly helping parents so that they can choose to get back into the labour market at a time that works for them and their children. 

It means parents can claim back the first month's childcare costs more easily.

These are worth up to £951 for one child or £1,630 for two or more children – which will be a huge help to families right across the country who may be struggling to access employment and make ends meet.

Many working parents will also receive help from DWP to crucially cover the costs for their first month’s childcare when they enter employment or significantly increase their working hours.

Those parents will also receive up to 85 per cent of the cost of their first month’s childcare bill paid directly to them before their second month’s bills are due.

This means they should have the money to pay one month in advance, unpicking something that too many of our Work Coaches know is a barrier, particularly for single parents getting into the workplace. 

Together, these changes are worth £900 million to help low-income families progress in work without compromising the quality of care their children receive.

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And that’s on top of extensive changes that my colleagues at the Department for Education are making, expanding their 30 funded hours childcare offer to parents with children as young as nine months old.

All of this will help us to get more people working and growing the economy, delivering on one of our key priorities.

Parenting will always be one of the toughest – and best – jobs anyone can do.

But together, we are making it a little bit easier, and ensuring Mums and Dads don’t have to choose between bring there for their children and a fulfilling career. 

Mims Davies is the Minister for Social Mobility, Youth & Progression and the MP for Mid-Sussex.

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