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David Cameron's record on child poverty

13 July 2016
David Cameron’s final words at PMQs today – “Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it” – bring to my mind one of his early speeches on poverty. 

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. 

The big warning in Unicef’s report on child wellbeing

18 April 2016
Unicef’s analysis of child wellbeing across the developed world, released today, is emphatic that increasing family incomes is a critical tool to boost children’s educational success, health and happiness. In saying this, it is issuing a pretty clear warning to the United Kingdom government that poverty-producing policies will deprive children of happy, healthy and secure childhoods.

Sanctions: where's the support?

22 July 2015
It’s all change at Westminster – once again. After five years dominated by the pace and scale of change to the social security system, the new Parliament promises some more pretty big changes, many of which were discussed in this week’s Welfare Reform & Work Bill debate.

Old problems and new: advising people on benefits issues at Tower Hamlets’ food banks

29 May 2015
We know that up to two-thirds of the people turning to the foodbank for help are having problems with the benefits system. That’s why since August 2013, a CPAG adviser funded by the Pears Foundation has been working in a foodbank centre in Tower Hamlets, helping people resolve the benefit problems which have brought them there, and gathering evidence about how and why people use foodbanks.

Six steps for the new government

11 May 2015
Newly re-elected, David Cameron has appointed his cabinet to lead the 2015 government. But what will he, and his ministers, do to turn back a rising tide of child poverty? In addition to the Prime Minister himself, George Osborne and Iain Duncan-Smith will be back in their pre-election roles of Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

New evidence shows people use food banks due to the negative effects of welfare reform

08 December 2014
"What is driving food bank use in the UK? Answering this research question is something of a challenge. There is no official data on food bank use – although the Trussell Trust does collect data on the numbers using their network, alongside reasons for referral – and no systematic evidence base telling us why people are referred for support.

Sanctioning hunger

26 November 2014
If I need to take a day off work, I don’t usually lose one month’s salary as a result. However, if you’re claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and delays to your bus journey mean you arrive ten minutes late for an interview at the Jobcentre, you could well find yourself having your benefit stopped for four weeks or more through a sanction.

The government’s child poverty strategy needs to be more child-focused, more poverty-focused, and more strategic

23 May 2014
This week, the official consultation closed on, potentially, the Coalition’s most important social policy objective– the new child poverty strategy. Running from 2014-17, the draft strategy covers the critical period during which we’d expect to see a big push to meet the statutory target to end child poverty by 2020 – especially given Iain Duncan Smith’s recent reaffirmation that he both remains committed to the target, and expects it to be met.