People subject to tighter coronavirus regulations will be allowed to look after children from other households.
The new rules introduced over the weekend prohibit people in affected areas from meeting other households.
But after complaints from parents, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people looking after children under 14 or vulnerable adults would be exempt.
The rules apply to 11 million people in England, in the North East, North West and West Midlands.
Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: “I’ve heard the concerns about the impact of local action on childcare arrangements. For many, informal childcare arrangements are a lifeline, without which they couldn’t do their jobs.
“So, today I’m able to announce a new exemption for looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults where that is necessary for caring purposes.
“This covers both formal and informal arrangements. It does not allow for play-dates or parties, but it does mean that a consistent childcare relationship that is vital for somebody to get to work is allowed.
“I hope this change will provide clarity and comfort to many people who are living with these local restrictions.”
People in the following areas are currently banned from mixing with other households at private homes:
The new restrictions will also come into force in the following places on Tuesday:
- Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and the parts of Lancashire not already under tightened restrictions excluding Blackpool
- Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale,
- Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston