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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.

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.

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. 

Small steps forward on sanctions

13 November 2015
In many ways, benefit sanctions offer the holy grail of public policy: the opportunity to find small changes that make a big difference, at little or no cost to the public purse. In its belated response to the Work and Pensions Committee’s report on sanctions in March of this year, the government has outlined a number of such policy changes.

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.

Rights (and wrongs) of sanctions

24 July 2014
At Child Poverty Action Group, we’ve had longstanding concerns about the use of sanctions, which are basically cuts to benefit payments of up to 100% for up to 3 years, and the obvious knock-on impacts on child poverty.  And as the letter in today's Times that we and others have signed shows, we’re not alone in having profound concerns with how sanctions are working.