Responding to the Autumn Statement today, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said:
“The Chancellor’s half-solved the problem he created in the Summer Budget of how we help the low paid. His decision to drop the latest tax credit cuts is very welcome and will be a huge relief to hard-up working families but, as the Treasury’s own costings reveal, the significant cuts to universal credit mean that in reality this is only a stay of execution.
“It was always wrong to cut support for working families in tax credits and it’s still wrong to cut help for these same families in Universal Credit, which replaces tax credits. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill going through parliament also cuts tax credits for families in a number of ways but it seems will go forward unchanged.
“Spending reviews are about setting out the Government’s priorities. After the Prime Minister’s party conference pledge to mount an assault on poverty we are disappointed that apart from the U-turn on tax credits there is very little evidence that the government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to fighting poverty.
“Today has also highlighted the absurdity of having a welfare cap in the first place. Unless the Government addresses the drivers of poverty - including sky-high housing and childcare costs and low pay, it will continue to be at risk of breaching its own welfare cap. We need to tackle the long term drivers of benefit spending – such as low pay and high housing costs – rather than rationing decency by cutting benefits.
“While the government’s investment in childcare has been valuable and welcome, we need to be clear that today’s announcements are a reduction on what has previously been announced. We would have wanted to see any savings being made from tax-free childcare invested in the 30 hours provision for 3 and 4 year olds to ensure that provision is high quality and flexible.”
(1) 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.
(2) 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 and Campaigns Officer
Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302