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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.

Cost of the School Day Spotlight 4: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar/ Western Isles Council

17 May 2021
In the final of four blog posts showcasing different Cost of the School Day approaches in Scottish local authorities, Rachel Macdonald and Donald Macleod of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar/ Western Isles Council tell us about the key role that Education Attainment Apprentices play in tackling financial barriers and supporting children's inclusion, participation and engagement.

Cost of the School Day Spotlight 3: Dundee City Council

17 May 2021
In the third of four blog posts showcasing different Cost of the School Day approaches in Scottish local authorities, Fiona Low of Dundee City Council tells us about their journey so far and the priority this work continues to have in the city.

Cost of the School Day Spotlight 2: Moray Council

17 May 2021
In the second of four blog posts showcasing different Cost of the School Day approaches in Scottish local authorities, Lynne Riddoch of Moray Council discusses practical work happening in all Moray schools to remove cost barriers and achieve equity.

Cost of the School Day Spotlight 1: North Ayrshire Council

17 May 2021
In the first of four blog posts showcasing different Cost of the School Day approaches in Scottish local authorities, Councillor Robert Foster of North Ayrshire Council tells us about the development of their exciting new whole systems approach.

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.