The real problem is poverty, not problem families

Published on: 
25 October 2012

In response to reports that Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will later today deliver a speech on how the benefits system encourages problem families, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

 "It's not problem families but families faced with the problem of low pay and shrinking government help for families.

It's some of the hardest working families that have been first in the queue for cuts - they've had their tax credits cut, their Child Benefit frozen year after year and many will have had essential help for childcare costs slashed.

 "Six out of ten poor children come from working families. These are some of the hardest working people in the country, working the longest hours, for the lowest pay, in the worst conditions and with the highest aspirations for themselves and their children.

 "A child in poverty is much more likely to be in poverty because they have a parent who is a security guard or a cleaner than one who is a drug addict or 'feckless'. There is no evidence that people don't want to take jobs but plenty that shows that people are hurling themselves at the labour market - the problem is that they don't stick, not that they don't try.

 "Children aren't a private luxury but a public good. They are the future of our economy, our future workforce. They will pay the taxes that will pay for our schools, hospitals and pensions in the future. We owe all of them an obligation and it makes absolutely no sense to punish children and their siblings because the government disapproves of the family planning decisions made by their parents. This idea is out of touch with the realities of people's lives - how many potential parents can be sure they will still have the same job in nine months time?"


For more information please contact Tim Nichols, CPAG Press Officer 07816 909302