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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 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.

The ‘Other Britain’

12 July 2019
A little over a century ago, the cry among social reformers concerned about the plight of the poor was for a safety net to be stitched together by the state, to catch any of our fellow citizens who were falling into the clutches of destitution. Had those same reformers witnessed what we have picked up during the past six months – from visits to food banks in Poplar, Waterloo, Leicester, Morecambe, Chester, and Glasgow – they would be appalled by the extent of hunger, homelessness, and insecurity afflicting so many families and vulnerable individuals in our country.

A package to restore benefits for children could lift more than 700,000 children out of poverty

05 June 2019
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is calling for re-investment in social security support for the UK’s children in a new report detailing the costs of restoring a catalogue of cuts to social security - including sub-inflationary uprating since 2013/14 - and providing a blueprint for making universal credit fit for families.

Lessons from the welfare reform summit

11 December 2018
Welfare reform and its effects have rarely been out of the news in the past few years – and rightly so. But the focus of coverage is often on political arguments taking place at Westminster. It’s vital we hear from those directly affected by the changes to social security, and from those who work with and support them.

Election 2017 manifesto

04 May 2017
We entered this general election campaign with child poverty at 4 million, projected to rise to 5.1 million by the end of the next parliament (assuming it’s a five-year term). The next government must get to grips with the underlying causes of poverty to make sure all children have a great start in life – and the opportunity to thrive. We have set out the practical steps politicians can take after 8 June to tackle child poverty.

Damning proof that the government has no evidence benefits sanctions work

01 December 2016
The National Audit Office says the government has failed to measure whether sanctioning benefit claimants represents value for money. Does anyone remember evidence-based policymaking? For the DWP, it appears from today’s National Audit Office (NAO) report on sanctions, it is at best a dim and distant memory.

DWP operating sanctions system blind

30 November 2016
Commenting on today’s National Audit Office (NAO) report on sanctions against benefit claimants, Child Poverty Action Group Chief Executive Alison Garnham said:  “As today’s NAO report makes clear, the DWP has little idea what impact sanctions have on individuals and, with some areas imposing twice as many sanctions as others, appears to have little concern for consistency...

Advising foodbank clients - one year on

16 May 2016
We started providing welfare rights advice to clients of the Tower Hamlets Foodbank as part of First Love Foundation’s Advice & Support project almost three years ago, thanks to help from the Pears Foundation. It’s now been a year since the project was scaled up with support from the Big Lottery Fund and I joined the team.