Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector

Published: 22 Dec 2020
Last updated: 2 Mar 2021 - see all updates

Guidance on the daycare services for children in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector
Childminders: financial support

Childminders: business and financial support

This information applies to childminders and sets out the range of business and financial support that has been made available.

You may be able to access some support measures regardless of whether your setting is open or closed. 

Childminders caring for fewer than 12 children can continue to operate under updated guidance for children of any age.

From 22 February, childminders registered to care for 12 or more children at a time can care for all children of preschool age, and for children of any age who are the children of key workers or other priority groups.

However, children of school-age who are not the children of key workers or other priority groups should not begin attending a larger childminding setting again at this time.

Childminding Business Sustainability Fund

The vast majority of childminders (other than those caring for 12 or more children) have not been subject to the same temporary restrictions as day care of children providers and have been able to remain open, if they chose to do so, to all children.

Childminders registered to care for 12 or more children are eligible for the Temporary Restrictions Fund as set out below.

However, we are aware that many childminders of all sizes continue to encounter challenges and that some may experience a drop in demand for their services despite being able to remain open.

That is why on 21 January the Scottish Government confirmed that funding of £1 million would be made available to childminders who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In order to best target this funding and make it available as quickly as possible, we are now increasing this fund to more than £3.2 million.

This £3.2 million fund will provide for a £750 business sustainability grant to be made available to all childminding services which are registered with the Care Inspectorate as of 1 February 2021.

The application process to receive this grant will be simple and will not require evidence of need to be presented. Further information on how to apply will be made available as soon as possible.

Financial support for childminders currently caring for 12 or more children

Those childminders who are registered to provide childcare to 12 or more children and are therefore subject to restrictions on which children can attend their setting, are eligible to apply for the Temporary Restrictions Fund.

Childminders need to be registered with the Care Inspectorate as caring for 12 or more children at a time and therefore currently subject to the same temporary restrictions as day care of children providers.

This Fund will help mitigate the reduction in income resulting from operating below capacity and ensure these settings can remain open.  

Further information is available on the temporary Fund webpage.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension

The UK Government has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The extension commenced in November 2020 and will last for 6 months to April 2021.

The extension will be in the form of two taxable grants. The third grant covers a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. This grant covers 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

Claims for the third grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021.

Other sources of support

  • you may be able to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of your turnover through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Under the new Pay as you Grow options announced on 24 September, Bounce Back Loan borrowers will all be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.
  • if you are not eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme  then you may be able to access support through Universal Credit. The standard rate in Universal Credit has been increased to support claimants. You can find out more information about Universal Credit and how to apply on the site.
  • if you have had to self-isolate, and can no longer offer your service, then you may be able to make a claim for the New Style Employment and Support Allowance.
  • if you have been asked by Test and Protect to self-isolate, you might be able to access support through the £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant. Payments are available to eligible individuals who were told to self-isolate from 28 September onwards. 
  • if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets certain criteria. Carer's Allowance is currently delivered in Scotland by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  • taxpayers with up to £30,000 of Self-Assessment liabilities due will now be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months.
  • mortgage lenders have agreed to offer repayment holidays to households in financial difficulty due to COVID-19. You need to be up to date with payments and not already in arrears, and should contact your lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for you.
  • you may be eligible for a council tax reduction which will reduce your council tax, potentially to zero depending on your circumstances. The Scottish Government will provide local authorities with more money to support that. Your local authority will be able to provide more information. If your income or earnings are impacted by COVID-19 and you are struggling to meet your next council tax payment you should discuss this as soon as possible with your local authority by phone or using their website.
  • if as a result of COVID-19 you are experiencing difficulties with paying your energy bills, or paying back personal loans of credit card bills, then please contact your energy provider or lender to explore payment plans.

First published: 22 Dec 2020 Last updated: 2 Mar 2021 -