PARENTS carrying out critical jobs in Wales during the coronavirus lockdown will receive free childcare for the next three months, the Welsh Government has announced.

The Welsh Government is launching a coronavirus childcare assistance scheme to support Wales’ critical workers.

Under the new plans, councils will be able to use funding from the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer to support registered childcare providers to care for pre-school aged (under five years old) children of key workers.

Children that are considered vulnerable will also be considered for the scheme.

Deputy minister for health and social care, Julie Morgan, said: “It is of paramount importance that parents who are critical workers do not face barriers in the fight against coronavirus.

“The scheme will ensure critical workers will get the childcare they need, and childcare providers will have security about how their businesses will operate.

“I also want to pay tribute to our childcare providers, including our Flying Start settings, who have stayed open to care for these children. This has helped support our response to coronavirus and to provide safe care for those who need it at a particularly challenging time.”

Wales’ existing childcare offer provides 30 hours of early education and childcare to the working parents of three and four year olds across 48 weeks of the year, which will now be suspended for the next three months.

The Welsh Government has also said it will honour its commitment to continuing to pay childcare providers for the hours of childcare already booked under the offer for three months.

Further guidance about new arrangements will be published by the Welsh Government shortly.