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UK

Two in five UK children under the poverty line are not eligible for free school meals

03 December 2020
Prior to the pandemic, at least two in five school-age children - 1.3million - who lived below the UK’s poverty line were not entitled to free school meals, new analysis from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows. All of these children are in families in low paid work but do not qualify because of stringent eligibility criteria, the analysis finds.

Child benefit advent calendar

01 December 2020
2020 has been tough for us all, but children in particular have sacrificed a lot. They deserve a Christmas present from the nation. We're calling for a £10 increase to child benefit. It's lost nearly a quarter of its value since 2010. We know parents use it to meet kids' needs. Our child benefit advent calendar will highlight some of the ways child benefit supports parents and carers to ensure all children have the best start in life.

170,000 households hit by benefit cap

26 November 2020
Official figures out today show the number of households subject to the benefit cap has reached 170,000, an increase of 8% since May 2020. Most of the increase is in London. The cap limits the total amount of benefits low-earning or non-working households can receive.

CPAG in Scotland event at SNP conference

26 November 2020
If you are a delegate at the SNP conference, please join our joint fringe event with Save the children and One Parent Families Scotland: Strengthening financial security to end child poverty

David Webster (University of Glasgow) briefings on benefit sanctions

24 November 2020
Dr David Webster is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Urban Studies) at the University of Glasgow.

Universal credit, earned income and monthly pay

R (Johnson, Woods, Barrett & Stewart) v SSWP [2019] EWHC23 (Admin); SSWP v Johnson, Woods, Barrett & Stewart [2020] EWCA Civ788
This case successfully challenged the rigidity of the monthly assessment period regime under universal credit (UC) and the way that earned income is calculated for certain claimants. The case concerned four single working mothers whose regular monthly pay dates for their wages fell close to the start/end of their assessment periods, resulting in them sometimes having two paydays in one assessment period. This issue caused them to experience fluctuations of their income and significant cash losses.

Universal credit, benefit cap and those paid 4 weekly

R (Pantellerisco and others) v SSWP [2020] EWHC 1944 (Admin)
On 12 September 2019, CPAG issued judicial review proceedings on behalf of a single parent and her children challenging the application of the benefit cap to the mother’s universal credit award. The cap is applied to the mother despite the fact that she works 16 hours per week at national living wage, simply because she is paid 4 weekly rather than monthly. Permission to apply for judicial review was granted on 5 December 2019 and the case was heard on 12 May 2020. Judgment was given on 20 July 2020 with the court finding in the claimants' favour.

Access to justice, one step at a time: Part 2

17 November 2020
Part 1 set out our approach at CPAG to access to justice in the social security field, namely ensuring: access to information, access to advice and assistance, and access to mechanisms for challenging unlawful decisions. Continuing with the last of these steps, the normal route for challenging a social security decision is by appealing it to a tribunal. Sometimes though, the appeal route is not available or, while available in principle, is not effective. In those situations, the route of legal challenge is judicial review.

Furthering access to justice, one step at a time: Part 1

17 November 2020
The ‘rule of law’ and ‘access to justice’ are concepts that are seen as fundamental to the proper functioning of a healthy, democratic society. The rule of law becomes perilously fragile if ordinary people are unable to hold public bodies to account.

Early Warning System E-Bulletin - November 2020

In this edition of the e-bulletin, we look at the top three topics that have been recorded in the Early Warning System (EWS) throughout October 2020. Although issues that relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government measures taken in response to it still feature in the Early Warning System, we are now seeing a resurgence of long-standing concerns about the universal credit system.