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Tax-free childcare is now expected to launch from early 2017. It should have already been in place, but development was delayed pending a legal challenge claiming the use of outsourced services breached EU procurement law.

Existing employer-supported childcare voucher schemes can accept new entrants until the tax-free childcare is launched, and employers will be able to continue with existing schemes as long as they wish.

With the new scheme, both parents must be working and, unlike employer-supported childcare, the scheme will be open to self-employed parents. Parents with more than one child and high childcare costs will benefit under the new scheme.

National Minimum Wage

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates have come into effect from 1 October 2015.


The independent Low Pay Commission (LPC) was established following the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to advise the Government on the NMW. It is made up of representatives from all sides of industry. The NMW rates above, that come into effect, mirror the recommendations made by the LPC, which were accepted in full by the Government.

The Increase for Apprentices is higher than the LPC’s recommendation. Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

The new National Living Wage will come into effect from April 2016 and will initially be set at £7.20 per hour for the over 25’s. This represents a rise 50p above the NMW increase coming into force in October.