Friday, 1 Mar 2024

Chancellor 'to announce 30 hours of free childcare for young children in budget'

Jeremy Hunt is set to announce an expansion of free childcare to cover one and two-year-olds in England in tomorrow’s budget, it has been reported.

It is expected that all parents of such children will be able to access 30 hours a week of free care, in a policy expected to expected to cost £4billion, the Telegraph has reported.

The Chancellor is also set to increase funding for the existing programme of free childcare for three-year-olds.

And he is planning to increase the hourly rate paid to childcare providers by the Government to deliver its existing 30-hour weekly entitlement, it was reported.

Earlier today the Chancellor was pictured holding the Budget box as millions prepare for him to set the nation’s next financial year in motion.

Mr Hunt stepped outside Downing Street carrying the iconic red box that has Queen Elizabeth’s cipher on it.

It holds the details of how he will tackle inflation, pay and public finances in the coming months.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will also publish its latest five-year forecasts for the economy and public finances.

Wednesday’s announcement in the Commons will come as families have spent more than a year struggling with soaring food prices and energy bills amid the cost of living crisis.

Tens of thousands of striking workers – who aren’t getting paid in line with surging inflation – will flock to Westminster to demonstrate as Mr Hunt takes centre stage.

In the Spring Budget, the Tory politician is expected to cancel the planned £500 hike in average energy bills due to come into force next month.

The move would see bills for the average household staying at around £2,500, instead of going up to £3,000 as was previously announced.

It has been also reported that the Chancellor is considering raising the £40,000 cap on tax-free annual pensions contributions.

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