Seven million children face benefits freeze


Millions of children face being pushed into poverty if the planned four-year freeze on benefits comes into force this April, new research has found.

A briefing from the Children’s Society reveals that 7.59 million children will face the freeze, of which 4.92 million – two-thirds – are children in working families.

This freeze is part of a draft of changes in the proposed Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which is being debated in Parliament today. Other changes include the new Universal Credit, introduction of the National Living Wage, and an increase in the income tax personal allowance.

The Children’s Society says the combined changes will mean that various family types lose thousands of pounds in income by 2020 as living costs rise.

Their briefing, entitled The Future of Family Incomes: How key tax and welfare changes will affect families to 2020, compares how the overall income of six case-study families will change from 2015 to 2020.

It estimates that the impact for working families making new claims in 2020 will be:

  • a 23-year-old primary school teacher and single mum of two children renting their home could be worse off by £239 per month (£2,868 per year);
  • a nurse and her partner with three children, renting in London, could be worse off by £425 per month (£5,100 per year);
  • an army corporal and his partner with three children, including one who is disabled, who own their home, could be worse off by £771 per month (£9,252 per year).

The Children’s Society urges the Government to reconsider its plan to freeze benefits, predicting the changes will particularly affect the most vulnerable, including younger parents and families with disabled children.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the charity, said, ‘Families on low incomes are facing a barrage of cuts. If ministers are genuinely concerned about child poverty they must reconsider plans to freeze benefits over the next four years. At the very least, the Government needs to guarantee there will be no further cuts when the Chancellor delivers his Budget next month.

‘Austerity has hit families hard, including those in work. Further cuts to support would push more children into poverty and undermine incentives for families to move into work or earn more.’

 

 

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