The End Child Poverty coalition is deeply disappointed at today’s decision by the Government not to enable families to be “stronger, healthier and happier” by confirming an extension of the £20 lifeline uplift or to extend it to those on legacy benefits. Too many children in low income families across the UK entered the Covid storm already cut adrift, and many families will have been swept into poverty for the first time.
The Chancellor made a promise to protect livelihoods, that is not being met for families with children.
Today was an opportunity to offer those families some hope. Instead we end 2020 with the Dickensian image of children holding out empty plates begging the Government for more. With no indication that the Government intends to keep the £20 uplift for Universal Credit and continuing to ignore the plight of those on legacy benefits the Government has missed the opportunity to signal its intention to get to grips with the scale of child poverty in the UK, which will have been made worse by the pandemic. With a vaccine on the horizon and the hope it brings for a return to normal life it’s not right that millions of children in the UK will continue to be trapped in poverty, denied the opportunity to freely enjoy their childhoods with good physical and mental health, to thrive at school and foster ambitions for the future.
We urge the Government, in the coming months, to set out an ambitious plan for how it intends to keep its manifesto commitment to reduce child poverty and to ensure that children in low income families are fully able to realise a brighter, post-Covid future. It is not possible to develop a vaccine against child poverty. It is however possible to find a cure.
The End Child Poverty coalition is calling for a credible plan to end child poverty which would include:
- A commitment to keep the £20 uplift to UC and extend it to those on legacy benefits
- An increase to child benefit
- An end to the benefit cap and the two child limit
- For housing assistance to keep pace with private rents
- Increased investment in children’s services and local welfare assistance