Responding to today’s Autumn Statement, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:
“Today’s Autumn Statement creates a new income rationing system for children, working families and disabled people through a national cap on their basic support.
“The government is saying to Britain’s families and lowest paid workers that if employers don’t give them fair pay increases, they can’t count on tax credits to keep up with rising prices either. Disabled people and the poorest children are being told that their basic support could be rationed to balance the books. Once again, it’s the poorest who are being asked to pay down the lion’s share of deficit reduction.
“For most families it’s the ‘Emperor’s New Recovery’ because their living standards keep getting worse and worse, so for them it’s invisible. The welcome extension of free school meals is great, but we were hoping the Chancellor would have good news for those struggling with the rising costs of childcare. They will have to hold out their hopes for another day.
“New analysis published by the Chancellor today explains how the poorest half of the population is making a much bigger contribution to deficit reduction than the richest half. We are balancing the books on the backs of the poorest, which is the complete opposite of what we were promised about fairness. It’s no wonder living standards are getting noticeably worse.”
Notes to Editors
- The following chart is from the Impact on Households document published by the Chancellor today. It shows that, aside from the very richest quintile, the cumulative effect of the Coalition’s spending decisions on tax, benefits and services is highly regressive. It is an admission that the government is balancing the books on the backs of the poorest.
- The AME cap announced by the Chancellor today will provide a mechanism for rationing social security. The Autumn Statement section on the scope of the cap (see page 35) states that the state pension, JSA and JSA-passported benefits will be excluded. This implies that the main social security entitlements and benefits liable to be rationed under the cap will be:
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Child Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Income support
- Universal Credit (but only for people in work and disabled people)
- Housing Benefit (but only for people in work and disabled people)
- CPAG wrote to the Chancellor calling for the Autumn Statement to address the living standards crisis with policies on:
- Improving support with the cost of childcare to help working parents and improve work incentives
- Setting out policies to progressively improve the real value of the National Minimum Wage, as recommended by the government’s advisory commission on social mobility and child poverty
- Improving support through child benefit.
Our full letter and media briefing can be found on this page of our website: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/cpag-letter-chancellor-use-autumn-statement-improve-childcare-support
- CPAG release a statement yesterday welcoming the confirmation of further details of the extension of free school meals that had previously been announced by the Deputy Prime Minister. You can read the press statement here: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/free-school-meals-extension-will-help-health-and-educational-outcomes
- For more information on how the living standards crisis is affecting families, see the report The Cost of a Child in 2013, which was commissioned by CPAG and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/cost-child-2013
- CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
- CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.
For further information please contact:
CPAG Press Officer
Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302