This Briefing presents CPAG's response to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015. The Bill presents wide-ranging changes which will affect families across the country, including:
- repealing most of the Child Poverty Act, abandoning poverty-reduction targets and proposing new measures of poverty that do not include income.
- lowering the benefit cap, a policy which severs the historic link between what families need to live on – as assessed by Parliament in its setting of benefit levels – and entitlement.
- extending the freeze on working-age benefits from two years to four years, ending in April 2020.
- limiting child tax credit to the first two children, which would have a dramatic impact on a minority of families.
Whilst not included in the Bill, the Chancellor's Summer Budget 2015 proposals included a new ‘national living wage’ for the over-25s (starting at £7.20 with the aim of it reaching 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020), and we also comment on this policy in the Briefing.
CPAG is concerned that many of the proposed changes in the Bill will either push more children into poverty or limit the government's ability to properly monitor levels of child poverty across the UK.