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'We honestly didn’t know how to survive'

18 September 2020
My name is David. I'm married with three children. I have worked several minimum wage jobs from care worker roles to handyman of a restaurant chain (I am now furloughed). I’ve had ongoing mental health problems and although I'm still medicating I feel I have beaten depression largely and my anxiety is more manageable. I am right now affected by the two-child limit and benefit cap - this alongside a stressful transition to universal credit has caused much stress to both my wife and me, putting a strain on our relationship, generally leaving us wondering how we are going to survive at times. 

Algorithms in social security: cause for concern?

28 August 2020
Two weeks ago pupils, parents and schools were up in arms when the news broke that 40 per cent of teacher-assessed A level results had been downgraded by at least one grade. The culprit? A computer, or to be precise, an algorithm. This episode clearly shows the chaos that can be caused to people’s lives when the technology that so many parts of public services now rely on goes wrong.

NEW SURVEY: the toll of lockdown on low-income families

25 August 2020
Coronavirus has left low-income families struggling with a significant deterioration in living standards and high stress levels a new report from Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England finds. Families who responded in July and early August were even less optimistic about their financial situation than those who responded in May or June.

Mind the Gaps: Social security during the pandemic

21 August 2020
We have seen a significant government response to the financial hit many have faced because of the coronavirus – from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme to the increase in universal credit (UC) and tax credits. While many families will have benefited from the stability and certainty these welcome interventions have given them, they have not been comprehensive. We are always most worried about the people who fall through the gaps.

Covid-capped

06 August 2020
Number of households hit by benefit cap doubles since Covid-19 - many families hit by wage drops and loss of benefits.

Benefit-capped working mother wins test case against DWP's irrational universal credit rules for assessing earnings

20 July 2020
A working single mother on universal credit (UC) has today won a test case against the DWP's approach to calculating earnings in UC which left her benefit-capped – and up to £5,000 worse off per year – purely because her employer paid her four-weekly rather than monthly.

The two-child limit now affects almost one million children – and it is being implemented when poverty is rising for larger families

16 July 2020
This week, the UK Government published its annual statistics on the number of households affected by the two-child limit policy, which restricts support through tax credits and universal credit to the first two children in a family. Its reach is growing steadily over time. The new figures show that 911,000 children now live in affected households. The majority (59 per cent) of those households contain three children.

Covid realities: monitoring from the front line

14 July 2020
If you believe last week’s newspaper headlines, many Britons have been waking up with hangovers after their first night out in months. Summer breaks on the beach are back. There is even talk of fans returning to Wembley for the FA Cup final. Britain it seems is inching back to a more familiar way of life. Certainly for the many Britons living on a low income, some familiar pressures are back.

Cost of learning in lockdown: Anna’s story

03 July 2020
As part of the research for our Cost of Learning in Lockdown report, we conducted some interviews with parents and carers from across the UK, who shared with us their family’s experience of school closures. We’re now publishing some of these interviews on our blog, to shine a light on these important stories and the issues that they bring up.

Court of Appeal finds DWP's treatment of earnings under universal credit irrational in further victory for four single mothers

22 June 2020
The Department of Work and Pensions has lost its appeal against an earlier victory for four working single mothers challenging the rigidity of the universal credit (UC) system for calculating their earnings.