Childcare is a pain in the bum and so is HMRC's buggy subsidies site

Thousands still experiencing issues since April launch

More than 6,000 parents looking to access financial help with childcare have had difficulties with using HM Revenue and Customs' frequently broken Childcare Choices website.

Applications, reconfirmations and the paying of fees for the government's tax-free and 30 hours' free childcare initiatives have all been affected, with many parents having to resort to a series of phone calls to complete their tasks.

The site has been known to cause issues, having appeared in the news in August last year. As 1 January marked the start of the school term, a new wave of parents looking to make new applications or reapply for their entitled childcare had to do so by 31 December, meaning that the site's previously identified issues with handling large quantities of simultaneous users have flared up again.

In August last year, following the initial round of problems and complaints, a response to Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan by HMRC revealed that the site had been down for more than 160 hours during a four-month period.

The response also said that the government had to manually pay out for childcare, as well as send out £45,000 in compensation after 2,600 applicants had had problems applying or getting their money.

HMRC, which runs the website by itself, told the BBC that less than 2 per cent (6,400) of users have encountered problems.

Speaking to The Register, a spokesperson said that the site had remained functional despite the problems for some users, and almost all parents still received a response within five working days.®

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