UK working-age benefits freeze 'will hit millions'

By agency reporter
October 7, 2014

The UK Chancellor’s announcement about freezing working-age benefits from 2016, hailed at the recent Conservative Party conference, is a 'blow to millions'. That is the verdict of Britain's leading children's charity.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, commented: "This proposal will impact millions of families already hit hard by repeated cuts to critical support. The majority of those affected would be the children of working parents who would see further real-term cuts to their child benefit and child tax credits."

He continued: "This comes just hours after the Government announced a further cap on welfare and a scheme that will bar childless 18 to 21-year-olds from housing benefit.

"Far too many families in this country are already struggling to provide a basic standard of living for their children because of the three-year one per cent annual cap in benefit rises put in place at the start of last year.

"These further cuts will make it harder for families to put food on the table and pay the rent to keep a roof over their head.

"This cap would extend the period of the one per cent squeeze on families to half a decade – a typical family could lose as much as £1300 per year by 2018 as a result. Losses in support with rents will come on top of this."

The Children’s Society is supporting the first-ever Children’s Commission on Poverty. The commissioners want the government to draw on children’s actual experience – and not just the statistics – when developing measures to tackle child poverty.

The Children’s Commission on Poverty is being supported by The Children’s Society and led by a panel of 16 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19. They are leading an 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK. It provides a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done.

Facts about poverty:

* 3.7 million children in the UK are living in poverty today: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income...

* Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income...

* By 2020, an estimated three quarters of a million more children will be living in poverty than today, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r78.pdf

[Ekk/3]

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