Universal Credit changes “a drop in the ocean” compared to recent cuts to family income

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The End Child Poverty Coalition today warned that the Chancellor’s announcement of a reduction in the Universal Credit taper won’t be enough to stem a continuing rise in child poverty to the end of this decade. Whilst the change provides an important recognition of the role of Universal Credit in supporting the 2.4 million UK children in poverty in working households, it will achieve little to prevent many of the lowest income families – including working families – being much worse off by the end of the decade.

Despite increased levels of employment, child poverty has been rising across the UK, and without further action from the Government, is set to rise further in coming years. With the cost of living expected to rise sharply in the coming year, it is crucial that now more than ever the Government lifts the current four-year freeze on children’s benefits and Tax Credits.

Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty, said

“The measures announced in today’s Autumn Statement are but a drop in the ocean compared to recent cuts to family income. The 3.9 million children living in poverty across the UK are still waiting for measures that make Britain ‘a country that works for everyone’, as promised by Theresa May in her first speech as Prime Minister.

Instead, whilst experts are giving stark warnings of price rises on the horizon, the Government is continuing with a four year freeze on children’s benefits and tax credits until 2020. As a result, low income families are likely to find it ever harder to make ends meet in coming years.”



Notes to editors

According to Households Below Average Income figures, there were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2014-15. 64% of those children living in poverty are in working households.

Resolution Foundation analysis indicates that maximum gains from 2% reduction in UC taper around £500. Maximum losses from Work Allowance cuts are around £2,800.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of around 100 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty. These include Child Poverty Action Group, The Children’s Society, Family Action, Barnardo’s, Gingerbread, Oxfam, Action for Children, TUC, Family and Childcare Trust, Save the Children, and the National Children’s Bureau.

You can get in touch with the coalition by emailing kate@endchildpoverty.org.uk or on 07918 567577.

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