A new scheme was unanimously backed by Tynwald on Wednesday which will see more parents qualify for help towards early years education and childcare costs.

The ‘Childcare Credit Scheme 2024’ will replace the ‘Pre-School Credit Scheme’, which had been in place since 2012.

The updated scheme will see more children qualify for help after it was extended to parents of children who turn three in the academic year in which they apply, as well as those who turn four.

Eligible parents will qualify for a universal credit of £4,166 per child, per year, to use with a Government-registered childcare provider.

Daphne Caine, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture (DESC), said: ‘The scheme is a key part of Our Island Plan, which aims to ensure children have the best possible start in life, including equal access to early years’ education and childcare.

‘It is also a key part of the Childcare Strategy and one of the many ways government is helping working families.’

Sarah Maltby MHK, political member for DESC, added: ‘A child's early years build a strong foundation for their future development – so access to an additional supportive environment during their formative years can help with development of important cognitive and social skills, which are the foundations of lifelong learning.

‘Increasing the provision to now include children at an earlier stage may help identify and address any developmental delays or learning difficulties early on, ensuring that all children receive the support they need to give them the best chance to thrive.’

A full list of FAQs for parents will be published on the DESC website this week, while applications for the scheme will open in May.