Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector

Published: 22 Dec 2020
Last updated: 13 Jan 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. 

 Supplementary guidance for childcare services appending existing guidance for childminder services was published on 21 December 2020 and updated on 7 January in response to decision to restrict the operation of childcare provision between 26 December 2020 and to at least 31 January 2021.

In line with the supplementary guidance, childminding services with a registered capacity of fewer than 12 may continue to operate their setting for all children during this period. There are no additional restrictions placed on childminding services, other than to follow the existing safe operating guidance.

Childminding services of a registered capacity of more than 12 should follow the same guidance as for other childcare providers in respect of restricting their operations. 

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

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

We are working with the sector on the provision of additional support for childminders who are most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Further details will be shared as soon as possible.

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 first grant covers a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. The initial 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.

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. The UK Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

The online service for the third grant is now available. You must make your claim on or before 29 January 2021.

Childminding Workforce Support Fund

The Childminding Workforce Support Fund has provided support to childminders who are facing hardship and, in particular, who have not been able to access financial support through other routes. 

The Fund, which was initially jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA), made £60,000 of support available. There was significant demand for the fund and a first round of grants were paid following closure to new applicants on 17 July 2020. 

The Scottish Government has provided additional funding of £390,000 to the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to extend the Childminding Workforce Support Fund. This includes covering the costs of administering the fund up to £60,000.

The Childminding Workforce Support Fund closed for new applications on 19 October. All applicants will have received an email regarding the outcome of their application. If you haven’t received this, please email

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 January 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: 13 Jan 2021 -