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Mr David Gauke - HM Treasury

Ahead of the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare in early 2017 and the 30 hours extended entitlement for three and four year olds in September 2017, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will trial a new, digital, joint childcare service later this year. The trial will involve around 1500 parents, including some who are eligible for both schemes. It will enable HMRC to extensively test the system and ensure it provides a smooth experience and quality service for parents.

Tax-Free Childcare and the extended free entitlement are a key part of the Governments overall childcare offer which will provide over 6 billion per annum to working families and those on low incomes by the end of this Parliament.

The Government announced in November 2015 that parents will be able to apply online for both Tax-Free Childcare and the extended free entitlement through a new joint childcare service being developed by HMRC, with their delivery partner National Savings & Investments (NS&I).

The joint childcare service will provide a simple and straightforward way for working parents to access both schemes, avoiding the need to provide the same information twice, and saving them valuable time.

In March 2016, the Government announced that Tax-Free Childcare will be introduced and gradually rolled out during 2017. The service will be made available to all eligible families by the end of that year.

Mr David Jones - Department for Exiting the European Union

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. Until we leave however, the UK continues to play a constructive role in EU business. The General Affairs Council (GAC) on Tuesday 20 September is expected to focus on the following: follow up to the June European Council; preparation of the October European Council; the European Commissions 2017 Work Programme; and the Mid Term Review of the Multiannual Financial Framework.

Follow up to the June European Council

The Presidency will present an update on the progress towards implementation of the June 2016 European Council Conclusions on migration, jobs, growth and investment and external relations. GAC Ministers will then hold an exchange of views; this will not be a detailed discussion.

Preparation of the October European Council

Ministers will discuss the upcoming October European Council draft annotated agenda. The agenda currently covers migration, trade and external relations, and EU policy toward Russia. This is an opportunity for the UK to influence and shape the agenda of the October European Council.

European Commissions Work Programme 2017

On 14 September the European Commission sent a Letter of Intent outlining the broad content of the Commission Work Programme for 2017 (CWP 2017) to the Council and European Parliament. GAC Ministers will have an exchange of views on the contents of the Commissions letter of intent.

The CWP is adopted annually by the European Commission. It contains a list of the legislative and non-legislative priorities that the Commission intends to bring forward in the course of the following calendar year.

Multiannual Financial Framework

The GAC will discuss the Commissions proposal on the Mid Term Review of the Multiannual Financial Framework which was published on 14 September.

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