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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.

How can we improve social security? Let’s start by listening to families

24 March 2021
While some of us are counting down the days until the next stage of unlocking, eager to go out for a meal or go shopping, for many families living on a low income there is no end in sight. As one parent explained, the end of restrictions would mean going “from a viral lockdown to a financial lockdown”.

Short changed this Mother’s Day? The case for child benefit

15 March 2021
It was Mother’s Day yesterday, a good time to recognise the unpaid but incredibly valuable work carried out by mothers across the UK. Yet despite the strides society has made in gender equality, there remains a gendered financial impact of parenthood on women. One way our society aims to recognise the additional costs brought by raising a family is through child benefit. Paid to the main carer, most often the mother, this gives many women money to spend on the things their children need.

The Cost of the Nursery Day: mitigating poverty-related barriers to learning and participation

10 March 2021
Douglas O'Malley of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, tells us about Cost of the Nursery Day work to identify poverty related barriers to learning and participation in nurseries and practical ways to overcome them.

Budget 2021: delivering on debt deductions?

09 March 2021
Most of the attention in post-budget analysis of social security announcements rightly went to the government’s decision to extend the £20 uplift to universal credit (UC) by just six months. However, the budget also outlined changes to how the government reclaims advance payments made to UC claimants.

Women in the pandemic: experiences from Covid Realities

08 March 2021
This time last year the odds were already stacked against women. Women are more likely to be in insecure, low paid employment; women are more likely to be in poverty; and women carry out more unpaid work than men. It seemed certain the pandemic would make inequality more pronounced. But how have things panned out? Twelve months later we want to share the experiences of low-income women who are part of the Covid Realities project.

Educational outcomes without secure incomes

17 February 2021
Today, the departing Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, posed an important question in her final speech. She asked how the government can claim to be focused on educational catch-up on the one hand, while at the same time refusing to give families income security and risking more children being pushed into poverty. This is a crucial point. Poverty at home is the strongest statistical predictor of how well a child will do in school.

Security and solidarity in our social security system

21 January 2021
The social security system is there for all of us. The pandemic has exposed how precarious our incomes are and how much we all need a social security system that prevents poverty, provides income security and promotes social solidarity. Whether or not we are out of work, in ‘insecure’ work, or have recently lost jobs, our current system is falling short on all fronts, but it can change.

Learning lessons from last lockdown: what helps school children and families on low incomes

14 January 2021
As a second lockdown begins, school buildings and playgrounds across Scotland are once again closed, and families face more home learning. We all know 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many of us, but for those living on lower incomes the extra pressure has made maintaining family life even harder. As we enter a second lockdown what can we do to ensure school at home will work for everyone? From what children and parents told us last time around, we have established a set of actions and guidelines to help us move forward.