Lindsay Judge's blog

Good news for families? The costs of the Conservatives are higher than you think

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“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.

The DWP's new solution to the problem of low pay? Blame working families


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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.

Autumn Statement: the prospect for children’s benefits looks no brighter

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Today’s the day that speculation about the content of the Autumn Statement reaches its peak. Will the Chancellor announce new spending cuts in light of lower-than-expected tax receipts? Or conversely, be in the market for some pre-election giveaways? Trails apart, we don’t yet know for sure what will be in the speech at 12.30pm tomorrow. But we have a pretty good idea what won’t.

The minimum cost of raising a child to adulthood: £83,000

New research by Child Poverty Action Group shows that the cost of raising a child threatens to tip an increasing number of families into poverty.

Children cost. A lot. New research published today shows that raising a child from birth to 18 requires a minimum of £83,155 for a couple, and £96,905 for a lone parent family. (In case you are wondering, it costs a lone parent more than a couple to bring up a child because there is only one adult to make offsetting savings from their own living expenses).

There’s a lot going on behind this eye-watering figure. Part of the story is the well-known fact that costs are rising, and rising fast. The price of food – a quarter of the basic budget required for a child – has risen at 25 per cent in the last six years; housing continues to consume a growing share of a family’s budget; and the price of childcare – which can amount up to 45 per cent of the total cost of a child if both parents work full-time - continues to increase apace.

Can universal credit be made to work to reduce poverty?

 

This blog was originally published by Richard Exell and Lindsay Judge on Touchstone.

Universal credit (UC) may be much-maligned but like it or not, it’s coming our way. Given this, how can it best deliver on its dual promise to make work pay and reduce poverty? The TUC and Child Poverty Action Group have been exploring this question in recent months, ably assisted by Howard Reed of Landman Economics. Here, we offer a sneak preview of our results.

How the poor have been hit hardest by inflation

It’s hardly news that the incomes of poorer families have been squeezed until the pips squeak. Declining real wages, underemployment and cuts to social security have all combined to drive down the living standards of those at the bottom of the income distribution in recent years. But low-incomes families have had to contend with another downward pressure that until yesterday we may have intuited, but hadn’t yet seen fully evidenced.

What is happening to child poverty?

Measures, measures everywhere and not a drop of sense. This morning George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith put their new child poverty strategy out to consultation with the claim that they have reduced child poverty by 300,000 to date, while at the same time denigrating the yardstick they appear to be performing so well against. So what exactly is going on with respect to child poverty in the UK?