London charities call for six emergency support measures for children during COVID-19 crisis

By agency reporter
April 17, 2020

The London Child Poverty Alliance (LCPA) is calling on the government for more support for families with children during the COVID-19 crisis, including a £10 per child uplift in child benefit.   

In a letter to Paul Scully, Minister for London, the alliance of more than 25 charities welcomes current measures for helping to alleviate hardship for Londoners but says they do not go far enough for low-income families.  

The letter calls on the government to take six additional steps to provide emergency support during the pandemic. They include: Increasing child benefit payments by £10 per child per week, ensuring that universal credit advances do not have to be repaid and removing the benefit cap and the two-child limit.  

The LCPA is also calling for a rise in the local housing allowance to cover the average cost of renting, more funds for local authorities to provide local welfare assistance and the removal of the no recourse to public funds condition imposed on tens of thousands of residents in the capital. 

Commenting, Chair of the LCPA Deborah Hargreaves said: “Without additional support for families, child poverty in London which is already the highest in the country, is going to get worse. We need to put children at the centre of our response. As a nation, we are being asked to make huge sacrifices to protect the vulnerable and help the NHS. We want to ensure that children do not suffer as well, as a result of more working families being pushed into poverty.”  

Families in London are often reliant on low-paid jobs in restaurants, pubs, shops and transport services all of which will be hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown. Child poverty in the capital stands at 37 per cent (after housing costs) – the highest rate of all UK regions. 

Director of Policy at Trust for London Manny Hothi, said: “The economic fallout from the pandemic will hit those on the lowest incomes hardest. London has the highest rate of poverty in the country, with hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty. We must ensure that these children and their families are properly supported throughout this crisis.” 

With the cost of living and rents being so much higher in London than elsewhere in the UK, families need additional support during this crisis if they are not to struggle even more to make ends meet.

* The full letter with signatories is here

* London Child Poverty Alliance https://familyfriendlylondon.wordpress.com/

* Child Poverty Action Group https://cpag.org.uk/

[Ekk/6

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.