Money and debt
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.
This autumn the benefit cap will be cut, squeezing low-income families even further and pushing more people into poverty. The Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 lowers the cap to £23,000 per annum for families (or £15,410 for single claimants) in London and £20,000 for families (or £13,400 for single claimants) outside of London. There are currently 3.9 million children living in poverty. Projections from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that child poverty could rise by 50 per cent by 2020. Tightening the cap and taking away more support from low-income households will have a devastating effect on families and children.