"I am driven into debt by my journey to work" - Caroline's experience

19 April 2022
This is my story and my experience. I grew up in a low-income household in Northern Ireland. I’ve experienced rationing and remember well walking to get the free butter and sugar as a young child. I know how it impacts on a child’s education and on how they see themselves. I didn’t see very much in myself growing up but I am still here, and now watch as my own child’s life experiences run parallel to mine just 40 years apart. 

Written Off: A response to the Spring Statement 

11 April 2022
I’m Jo, mum to Harry. We live in the North West and I parent alone. I’ve tried so hard over the last few years to find balance financially, emotionally and mentally. The exhaustion of having to count every penny has seriously impacted daily living and there have been times I’ve been close to sheer panic as I used my bank card. This isn’t unfamiliar to me or to millions of other people in the UK.

Five years of the two-child limit

06 April 2022
Kirsty McKechnie writes about what we have learned from the Early Warning System case evidence about impact and operation of the two-child limit in Scotland.

How do we end the need for food banks?

31 March 2022
In his spring statement, the chancellor added £500 million to the household support fund, which started out as a pot of money given to councils to support families during the pandemic. This was a miserly response to the challenges families are facing, given prices are rising at pace and benefits will not increase at the same rate. But what is the role of this type of support? And how should it be delivered? That was what our Ending the need for food banks project set out to answer.

All children should experience the joy of school fun

30 March 2022
Francesca Hogg, Children North East’s Poverty Proofing Practice Advisor, writes about the costs and resources required for fun events at school and the worry they can cause children and their families.

It’s hard to catch up when poverty holds you back

29 March 2022
Children have told us time and time again that poverty gets in the way of being able to make the most of learning and school life. And the data backs this up – children who live in homes with less money are less likely to do well at school.

'You must fit the box': Universal credit and mental health

24 February 2022
Our social security system should be a source of support for everyone who needs it – including those experiencing mental health problems. Several years into the roll-out of the universal credit system, we wanted to find out whether the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) responds to the needs of people with mental health problems to ensure they can access universal credit (UC) fully. We spoke to almost 30 universal credit claimants with mental health problems, and the picture they painted was a worrying one.

Breaking point

11 February 2022
Parents up and down the country are desperately trying to figure out how to cope with rising energy bills but the government’s response has been insufficient. And energy prices are not the only costs surging for families. What’s needed urgently is comprehensive help from the government with across-the-board price rises – starting with an increase to benefits by at least 6 per cent.

It won’t work: why the ‘way to work’ scheme undermines efforts to help people get a decent job

27 January 2022
Jobseekers receiving universal credit (UC) woke to the news today that the time they are allowed to limit their work search to their preferred field will drastically reduce. Rather than having three months, they’ll have a meagre four weeks. After those four weeks, changes brought in under the ‘Way to Work’ campaign mean that UC jobseekers need to apply for and accept any job they can. Anyone deemed non-compliant will face sanctions and reduced income. The legal basis for this is not clear at this stage.

Making a difference together: five key lessons from Covid Realities

24 January 2022
The cost of living crunch is rightly attracting lots of attention, with millions fearful of how they’ll get by as costs rise yet further. There is an urgent need to provide families with more support through our social security system: a system that has become unfit for purpose following cut after cut, with successive governments seemingly unwilling to recognise that social security is an investment in us all.