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The problem with the ‘grace period’

21 September 2021
The number of families affected by the government’s benefit cap stood at 187,000 in May 2021. These families are living on less than what they need because they are not in work or not considered to be working enough. On average, they are losing out on £238 per month.

Back to school – supporting pupils from low-income families in England

01 September 2021
For many pupils, families and school staff, excitement has been building for the start of the new school year. However, for some families experiencing poverty, this can be a time of anxiety. A time of increased costs as uniforms, PE kits, travel cards and stationery are needed. But there are some straightforward steps that schools can take to ensure that all families and children get off to a great start.

Life in the pandemic

27 August 2021
Hello. My name is Jack. I’m 16 and I live in West Yorkshire. I’m the youngest of three sons. I have two older brothers aged 22 and 24, both of whom have moved out, so it’s just me and my Mom at home. I’m her young carer. She has been disabled since 2011, and we live off her disability benefits. This is an account of how I’ve been coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changing social security for the better

12 August 2021
In March 2021, parents and carers living on a low income met with parliamentarians over Zoom to mark a year of lockdown. At the meeting, facilitated as part of the Covid Realities research programme, parents set out what they believe needs to change if the future is to be a better one for all of us. 

A UC sink hole – the minimum income floor returns

30 July 2021
Last October, Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis tweeted a warning about the ‘huge sink hole awaiting many self-employed’ people when the suspension of universal credit’s minimum income floor ended. While the government extended the suspension, it now ends this week. Self-employed workers up and down the country will start to be affected (with some possible concessions) after 31 July, and may face huge financial difficulties as a result.   

Universal credit and work: the reality

21 July 2021
In attempting to justify the unjustifiable, namely the cut to universal credit that is due in October, secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey said the government was: ‘shift[ing] the focus strongly on to getting people into work.’ But this is a cut that will affect millions of working families. The government has subjected our social security system to so many cuts and freezes that families desperately needed the £20 increase and it must stay, but universal credit’s very design still makes it hard for parents to escape poverty through work.

New blog series: insights from Cost of the School Day frontline practitioners

20 July 2021
Since January 2020, we’ve been working with our project partners, Children North East, to poverty proof schools in parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Our team of skilled practitioners have spoken with over 7,500 pupils across Coventry, Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea, Moray and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Our new blog series aims to share some of the practitioners' insights.

“An effortless, non-threatening vehicle for scrutinizing poverty within schools”

20 July 2021
This is the fourth of a series of five blogs about why listening to pupils is key to tackling the cost of the school day. Rhian Reynolds, who delivers the project in South Wales, describes how valuable schools have found hearing from pupils and what they plan to do as a result of the Cost of the School Day project.

“Children and young people are the experts in their school experience”

20 July 2021
This is the third of a series of five blogs about why listening to pupils is key to tackling the cost of the school day. Richard Barrie, who works as a Cost of the School Day Practitioner in Coventry, shares some examples of what pupils have told us about school costs.

“I have been surprised sometimes at the candour of pupils”

20 July 2021
This is the second of a series of five blogs about why listening to pupils is key to tackling the cost of the school day. Kirsty Campbell, our Cost of the School Day Practitioner in Moray, describes how eye-opening it is to speak to pupils about school costs and money, and how willing pupils are to share their views.