“Good news for family budgets” is how the Chancellor welcomed this week’s (negative) inflation figures, but the pinch parents have been feeling in the pocket can’t just be put down to rising prices. It’s also about how we’ve been short-changing our children.
Last week the Prime Minister promoted to the Cabinet a critic of the Coalition government’s original plans to end dedicated funding for local welfare schemes. While Amber Rudd MP’s career hasn’t been harmed by her stance, what are the prospects for local welfare assistance schemes (LWAS) and other emergency provision?
For the uninitiated, in 2013 council-run LWAS replaced the discretionary Social Fund as the way we help people on low incomes cope with unexpected or one-off costs – the safety net beneath our safety net.
It’s back. Tonight sees the return of Benefits Street on TV screens. Series 2 focuses on Kingston Road on the Tilery Estate in Stockton-On-Tees.
Channel 4’s promotional blurb claims: ‘Benefit Street reveals the reality of life on benefits, as the residents of streets in areas hit hard by the recession invite cameras into their tight-knit communities.’
This blog first appeared on The Staggers, on the New Statesman website.
When George Osborne claimed in last month’s Budget to have reduced child poverty, I’m sure mine weren’t the only raised eyebrows. Michael Gove made a similar claim yesterday, that the government has ‘been able to save £21bn in the welfare budget and at the same time reduce inequality and reduce child poverty in this country’. Important analysis published today by the New Policy Institute (NPI) hones in on the subtle flaw in this piece of political alchemy: it isn’t true.
By Mark Willis, Welfare Rights Adviser at CPAG in Scotland
The government has been busy promoting its new tax-free childcare scheme, with its own Twitter hashtag, infographics on Flickr, and even a Facebook photo album. These proudly boast that a working family with two children can save up to £4,000 a year. The ‘top ten things to know about tax-free childcare’ announces the scheme will be simpler, fairer, and available to families earning over £52 a week and not more than £150,000 per year. However, low income families need to know that tax-free childcare offers them nothing - and could even leave them significantly worse off if they apply for it.
We contributed an essay to a new publication by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies: The first 100 days - what should a progressive government implement?
With the 2015 General Election fast approaching, we’re hearing lots of the usual promises from all of the parties about what they’ll do if they make it into government post May 7. From the standard commitments to the NHS, through the enduring promises of sorting out the economy, down to pledges to deal with immigration and look after the elderly, the party manifestos and messages contain many common themes.
This article was first published on the Newstatesman blog.
How many hours should low-paid parents be expected to work? Universal credit (UC) pilots launched today provide an insight into government thinking on this question.