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Not getting by: the increasing impact of the benefit cap

22 June 2021
Figures just released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that in February 2021, soon after the start of the third lockdown, 200,000 households were subject to the benefit cap. Behind this statistic are families having to get by on less than their assessed need because of the government’s decision to limit the amount of income any ‘non-working’ household can receive in social security. The pandemic has seen the number of capped households drastically increase, with the latest figures an increase of 153 per cent since February 2020, when 79,000 households were subject to the cap.

‘Other people don’t have to think about which kid they love the most that month’: the realities of everyday life on the benefit cap and two child limit

11 June 2021
Since April we’ve been interviewing larger families who are subject to the two child limit and/or benefit cap as part of the Benefit Changes and Larger Families project. We’ll be interviewing many more families over the next 18 months, but already after 11 interviews it is striking how much common ground there is in larger families’ experiences of negotiating life on a low-income.

A drop in the ocean: the need for investment in children at school

03 June 2021
Yesterday, the UK government announced the next phase of its Covid education recovery plan with £1.4 billion to be spent on tutoring pupils and training teachers in England. This falls far short of what’s really needed to ensure that – as the prime minister puts it – “no child is left behind”.

Hitting home: the benefit cap and child homelessness

31 May 2021
Since 2013, the benefit cap has meant that many families don’t have enough money to pay their rent. This isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s explicit in the way that benefits are calculated.

Back to the 20th century: our child poverty disaster

21 May 2021
The rise in child poverty over the last six years has all but wiped out all the progress that had been made since the late 1990s. As the latest official poverty statistics showing this were published just before Easter, this is not exactly news. But the message needs repeating because the muted reaction to what can only be called a disaster suggests it is not just the UK government who would prefer to look the other way.

Universal credit and mental health

07 May 2021
There is no doubt that the past year has changed all of our lives in ways we could not have imagined - affecting our relationships, our finances and our mental health. For families living on a low income though, the daily stresses of getting by were unfortunately nothing new, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. Families have faced additional costs such as higher food and energy bills associated with staying at home more. New evidence shows that those in the greatest financial difficulty going into the pandemic are more likely to have reported mental health problems.

The ripple effect of poverty on children in London

23 April 2021
Without a doubt, the COVID‐19 pandemic has affected the entire country in different ways. Some would argue that children have been affected the most and others would not. Nevertheless, even before COVID‐19 the children of London needed support.

Uniform mistakes: the cost of going back to school

20 April 2021
This week, many children will clamber out of bed, clamber into their uniform and return to school for the summer term. School uniforms impose a uniform cost on parents and carers, which can mean that those who have the least are hit the hardest.

Does the cap fit? Researching the benefit cap’s effect on paid work

30 March 2021
Official statistics released today show that the number of households subject to the benefit cap has increased again. 180,000 households were capped in November 2020, up from 170,000 in August 2020.

We must start with poverty

25 March 2021
“Babies and children in England will get a better start in life”. That’s the kind of opening line we’d hope for in a cross-governmental child poverty strategy. We know that poverty affects children’s ability to thrive, that children growing up in poverty do less well in school, and that poorer children are more likely to have poorer mental and physical health. Tackling poverty therefore has to be at the heart of the government’s plans. However, this is the introduction to the government’s review into reducing inequalities in the first 1,001 days of life in England. And addressing poverty barely gets a look in.