Response to Chancellor's announcements on supporting jobs during COVID-19

Published on: 
20 March 2020

Responding to today's announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

​"We welcome unprecedented new support through the job retention scheme to help save people's jobs. More support with housing costs will also provide reassurance for families worried about keeping a roof over their heads. And the increase to the standard allowance in universal credit and basic element of the working tax credit will help to the tune of nearly £20 per week, but there is nothing more for families with children, despite facing significant extra costs.

Many families who must now depend on the dysfunctional universal credit system will struggle with delayed first payments and a cluster of design and delivery problems. Even with an adult rate of around £94 per week - an improvement on the poverty levels we have become used to in recent years - this will still plunge many families into poverty, hardship and gloom, compared to what they were previously earning. We have yet to have confirmation that this increase will apply to all legacy benefits also.

In the light of extended school closures, an urgent increase in child benefit of at least £10 per week per child (with the benefit cap being lifted to ensure all families gain) is necessary to safeguard the UK's poorest children and ensure that no child falls between the gaps and no family is left struggling by complying with public health guidance."