WORKING parents in Ceredigion will soon be able to apply for 30 hours of funded childcare with the county next in line to roll out the Welsh Government pilot scheme.

Ceredigion has been classed as a ‘delivery authority’ and will also administer the scheme aimed at three to four-year-olds across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys, which will follow suit next year.

A report to the learning communities overview and scrutiny committee states that if 70 per cent of three to four-year-olds take up the childcare offer it would provide an economic boost of around £1.25million.

This includes payments to childcare providers for 48 weeks of the year as well as the scheme’s significant savings for parents.

The authority has been working to prepare its delivery system and Ceredigion parents are expected to be able to start making their applications in mid-June.

The scheme will be phased in across the region in stages, with Carmarthenshire and Powys due to join in January 2019 and Pembrokeshire April 2019.

The Welsh Government will pay £4.50 per hour per child, which is in line with current childcare costs in Ceredigion.

There has been a shortage of childcare places in the county and some may not be able to receive their full entitlement but the council has been working to increase the numbers.

“It is anticipated that the increased demand will increase further supply of childcare,” the report adds.

The Welsh Government scheme launched in Angelsey and Gwynedd, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly in 2016.

Carys Davies, childcare strategic manager, told the committee that funding to administer the scheme, coupled with its size, means two new jobs have been created at the county council.

“It’s a challenge because the timeline is so tight. We expect this to start from September and the intention is parents can start making applications to the scheme from mid-June.

“We’re going to have to move pretty quickly with this,” added Ms Davies.