Commenting on reports that the Treasury is examining plans to freeze benefits for two years and de-link benefit levels from rises in earnings or inflation, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:
'Breaking the link between benefits and living standards would be breaking the link with decency. In hard times the values of a civilised society must ensure the most vulnerable families are protected.
'The Chancellor must reject this disgraceful proposal which would condemn the poorest families to falling even further behind the rest of society and would expose our poorest children to harsher childhoods and weaker opportunities for social mobility.
'It would also break the contract with workers who are paying for their social security rights. With the economy back in recession, unemployment is predicted to rise again, meaning cuts in the real term level of benefits would punish people working and paying their National Insurance today who lose their work tomorrow. It puts every ordinary working family at risk of falling into destitution.
'The poorest families and children are already bearing the brunt of the Government’s austerity agenda. It is beyond belief that the richest get a top rate tax cut while the poorest are being forced into deepening destitution.'
Notes to Editors
- The value of unemployment benefit has already halved relative to earnings in the last 30 years, as shown in the chart below (Source: DWP Abstract of Statistics for Benefits, NI and Contributions, and Indices of Prices and Earnings - 2010).
- Families affected by the proposal will already be below the poverty line, so the change will result in an increase in the most severe levels of poverty.
- 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, which has over 150 member organisations and is 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