CPAG Blog

Osborne's personal tax summaries are not transparent: they don't break down welfare spending

This blog first appeared on The Staggers rolling politics blog on the New Statesman.

At CPAG, we slept on yesterday’s news of George Osborne’s personal tax summaries. This morning, we awoke to find we’re still pretty annoyed. This blog is an attempt to figure out why, exactly.

Tony Lynes – my memories of a special man

I first met Tony in about 1966 or 1967 when he came to talk to a group of students at Goldsmiths’ College in London about Poverty in Britain and the CPAG shortly after the inception of CPAG. On completing my degree I went to teach in Oxford and came to know Tony when I joined the Oxford branch of the Child Poverty Action Group. Tony had moved from being Secretary (a post now called Chief Executive) of CPAG on a national level to being probably the first welfare rights officer employed by a local authority based in Oxfordshire Children’s Department. Tony was our guide, mentor and activist in the small Committee of the Oxford CPAG of which I was Secretary.

Remembering Tony Lynes

Tony Lynes, CPAG’s first member of staff, has died aged 85. He was hit by a car and died of his injuries in London’s Kings College Hospital on 12 October.

It started in 1965 with a meeting at Toynbee Hall to discuss the early results of what became Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend’s The Poor and the Poorest – the book that ‘rediscovered poverty’. Tony then drafted the first memorandum, which was sent to Douglas Houghton, the social services overlord in the Labour cabinet. When there was no response, a second memorandum was sent to the Prime Minister in December 1965, coinciding with publication of the book. That meeting in March 1965 established CPAG, and Tony was appointed its first full-time Secretary in August 1966.

Arrival of the Benefits for Migrants Handbook

This guest blog is written by Rebecca Walker, author of the immigration and residence chapters of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and lead author of the new Benefits for Migrants Handbook.

This week sees the publication of CPAG’s Benefits for Migrants Handbook which, many readers will agree, arrives not a moment too soon. 2014 has been a year of yet more restrictions on the benefit entitlements of people who have come to the UK.

The future of Local Welfare Assistance Schemes

This week, the government committed to making a fresh decision on how Local Welfare Assistance Schemes (LWAS) (also called Local Welfare Provision) will be funded in 2015/16. Their decision will be informed by a thorough examination of how schemes are functioning, and the needs of those that benefit from them - great news for the vulnerable people that rely on them in times of need.

The independence referendum: what does it mean for child poverty?

With just a few days to go before the Scottish independence referendum John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, highlights how CPAG has informed the terms of debate and argues that the challenge now for anti-poverty campaigners is to ensure that heightened public engagement and concern with child poverty in campaign debates is harnessed for real change, wherever powers end up lying after September 18th.

Yes is in the best interests of the fight against child poverty

In this, one of two guest blogs outlining why a Yes or No vote is in the best interest of ending child poverty in Scotland, Cailean Gallagher, a contributing author to Poverty in Scotland 2014: the independence referendum and beyond, makes the case for the Yes campaign.

Don’t make mistake of thinking independence vote is yes or no to social justice

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In this, one of two guest blogs outlining why a Yes or No vote is in the best interest of ending child poverty in Scotland, Jim Gallagher, a contributing author to Poverty in Scotland 2014: the independence referendum and beyond, makes the case for the No campaign.

Fair for who? Child maintenance and family tests.

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he wants to see all domestic government policies subjected to a ‘family test’ in future, apparently to ensure that families aren’t undermined or made worse off financially.  But does the ‘family test’ itself pass the test?

Initially at least, it may be difficult to understand why anyone would be against such an approach. Indeed, we have been arguing that government should pay attention to a wide range of policy areas, such as employment, benefits, and family support services, to reduce child poverty and help improve the lot of poor families for many years.

One concern, however, is that it’s unclear whether the proposed ‘family test’ applies to lone parent families, too.

‘Having kids shouldn’t be a luxury’ - Mumsnet response to cost of a child research

New research has revealed that families on minimum wage are 18% short of the amount needed for a basic standard of living. Here, MN blogger Catherine Mann argues that parenting must not become the preserve of the rich.

Everyone knows that August is an expensive time to be a parent. Whether it's paying for a holiday away, funding all-day childcare while school is shut, or just buying a round of ice creams on a day out - the break from routine can't help but put additional pressure on the family budget. And that's before you start to restock the uniform drawers.