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.
Based on an online survey of 285 low-income families and in-depth interviews with 21 of these families between May and August 2020, this report 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. It was written by CPAG and the Church of England.
It looks at the financial and non-financial impacts as well as the sources of support families had, and makes the following recommendations:
- Child benefit should be increased by at least £10 a week and an extra £10 a week should be added to the child element within universal credit and child tax credits.
- Free school meals should be extended to all families who are in receipt of universal credit or tax credits, with a view to introducing universal FSM for all children in the longer term.
- The benefit cap should be abolished, or at least suspended for the duration of the pandemic.