Children's benefits and cost of living | CPAG

Children's benefits and cost of living

We know from our Cost of a Child research that even when two parents work full time on the minimum wage, a family will be £47 a week short of the income they need to meet the basic costs of raising a child. 70 per cent of poor children live in working families.

Poverty restricts children’s opportunities, and can mean that they are left behind. We need investment in children to ensure they are released from the grip of poverty. This means taking action now to:

  • restore the child element in universal credit, including the higher element for first children, and increase child benefit by at least £5 a week because it has lost 23% of its value since 2010;
  • lift the two-child limit, which will otherwise push 300,000 children into poverty and one million more into deeper poverty by 2023/24;
  • remove the benefit cap, which largely affects lone parents with young children who are least able to escape the cap through work.

Briefings

Digital exclusion during the pandemic

To solve the immediate issues surrounding digital exclusion, CPAG and Children North East urge the government to rapidly speed up the distribution timetable of the 440,000 purchased devices that are currently available to schools and ensure that every child across England has access to a device for learning and other essential items.

CPAG's submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review

Our submission to the government's forthcoming spending review focusses on strengthening the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by prioritising jobs and skills; levelling up struggling families – helping children maximise their potential; and ensuring every young person receives a superb education.

Reports

Poverty in the pandemic: An update on the impact of coronavirus on low-income families and children

In August, Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England published a report, Poverty in the Pandemic, which offered a glimpse into the lives of low-income families trying to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This report provides an update on how families with children are managing financially, based on an additional 393 online survey responses received in the period since the last report was published, up to the end of November 2020.

Poverty in the pandemic: The impact of coronavirus on low-income families and children

Coronavirus has turned the lives of families with children upside down. Many parents have lost jobs or been furloughed and many schools and childcare facilities have largely been closed, leaving those still in work facing the impossible task of balancing work with childcare and home schooling. These challenges are particularly acute for low-income families. This new report from CPAG and the Church of England offers an important insight into the day-to-day struggles that families have been dealing with, as well as their strength and resilience in managing such an array of challenges on a limited income.

The Cost of Learning in Lockdown: family experiences of school closures

To understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children’s experience of learning, we conducted some research through surveys and interviews. We gathered the experiences of 3,600 parents and carers, along with 1,300 children and young people, with an emphasis on the experiences of low-income households. We found that the cost burdens of school closures have fallen most heavily on families already living on a low income.

News

Open letter to Gavin Williamson on home learning

11 January 2021
Today we and Children North East have sent an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson MP, which lays out a set of guiding principles that we advise the government to use to make decisions about home education during this lockdown period.

Child benefit advent calendar

01 December 2020
2020 has been tough for us all, but children in particular have sacrificed a lot. They deserve a Christmas present from the nation. We're calling for a £10 increase to child benefit. It's lost nearly a quarter of its value since 2010. We know parents use it to meet kids' needs. Our child benefit advent calendar will highlight some of the ways child benefit supports parents and carers to ensure all children have the best start in life.

Legal update

10 February 2020
Our legal team has had a busy start to the new year. Last week we learned we had been successful in our High Court case challenging the fact that the higher rate of bereavement support payment for families with children is currently only paid if a spouse or civil partner dies, and not when the couple were not married or in a civil partnership. This follows a similar challenge to the previous widowed parent’s allowance – the Supreme Court found in favour of a mother and her four children in that case, but, although the law is not compatible with human rights law, the government has still not resolved the issue.

Blogs

Short changed this Mother’s Day? The case for child benefit

15 March 2021
It was Mother’s Day yesterday, a good time to recognise the unpaid but incredibly valuable work carried out by mothers across the UK. Yet despite the strides society has made in gender equality, there remains a gendered financial impact of parenthood on women. One way our society aims to recognise the additional costs brought by raising a family is through child benefit. Paid to the main carer, most often the mother, this gives many women money to spend on the things their children need.

Learning after lockdown: school bells herald extra costs

03 September 2020
This week, schools in England will open their doors to their full school community for the first time in almost six months. We know that families with children have been hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic, with 2 in 5 facing financial difficulty, and that the lowest paid have been most badly affected. In this perfect storm of a difficult lockdown and worsening household finances, there needs to be much more focus on family income as children return to school.  

Mind the Gaps: Social security during the pandemic

21 August 2020
We have seen a significant government response to the financial hit many have faced because of the coronavirus – from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme to the increase in universal credit (UC) and tax credits. While many families will have benefited from the stability and certainty these welcome interventions have given them, they have not been comprehensive. We are always most worried about the people who fall through the gaps.