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(1)An English local authority must secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the provision of childcare (whether or not by them) is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area who require childcare in order to enable them—
(a)to take up, or remain in, work, or
(b)to undertake education or training which could reasonably be expected to assist them to obtain work.
(2)In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet those requirements, a local authority—
(a)must have regard to the needs of parents in their area for—
(i)the provision of childcare in respect of which the child care element of working tax credit is payable, and
(ii)the provision of childcare which is suitable for disabled children, and
(b)may have regard to any childcare which they expect to be available outside their area.
(3)In discharging their duty under subsection (1), a local authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(4)The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (2) (and subsection (6) so far as relating to that subsection) so as to modify the matters to which a local authority must or may have regard in determining whether the provision of childcare is sufficient.
(5)Except in relation to a disabled child, this section does not apply in relation to childcare for a child on or after the 1st September next following the date on which he attains the age of 14.
(6)In this section—
“child care element”, in relation to working tax credit, is to be read in accordance with section 12 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 (c. 21);
“disabled child” means a child who has a disability for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50);
“parent” includes any individual who—
has parental responsibility for a child, or
has care of a child.
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