Benefit levels | CPAG

Benefit levels

The problem with the ‘grace period’

21 September 2021
The number of families affected by the government’s benefit cap stood at 187,000 in May 2021. These families are living on less than what they need because they are not in work or not considered to be working enough. On average, they are losing out on £238 per month.

A minimum income guarantee in Scotland

14 September 2021
What is a minimum income guarantee? There are numerous models that have been proposed, but the general idea is that everyone should be entitled to a minimum level of income. In Scotland, it has been suggested that this level should be set with reference to a minimum income standard. However, it is often assumed that this guarantee can only be delivered by some kind of means-tested payment to lift incomes up to the threshold, but as we shall see this minimum can actually be achieved in a number of ways.

Fixing Lunch: The case for expanding free school meals

31 August 2021
Free school meal (FSM) provision has been thrust into the media spotlight during the pandemic. But how widespread is FSM coverage? How do parents feel about FSM provision? And what do they think could be done to improve it?

Children can't wait: investing in social security to reduce child poverty in Northern Ireland

26 August 2021
The upcoming Anti-Poverty Strategy is a chance for the Northern Irish Executive to invest in measures that make a difference for children. By setting out an ambitious vision, measurable targets, and by committing to investment in children, the Anti-Poverty Strategy can set us on a path to a future where no child grows up in poverty. This briefing by Save the Children UK and CPAG looks at some of the ways the Executive could achieve this. It examines how changes in social security would lift children out of poverty.

Post-pandemic futures: Social security reimagined

17 August 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the shortcomings of the UK’s social security system. As we move out of the pandemic, there is a need to grasp this opportunity to debate and start planning for a new and better social security settlement. In this briefing note, aimed at campaigners, policy makers, and those engaged in anti-poverty work, we argue that this must be an expansive debate that has the expertise of people with experience of poverty and social security at its centre. We reflect on the participatory work of Covid Realities, and on the ambitious and radical proposals for reform developed by its participants.

Changing social security for the better

12 August 2021
In March 2021, parents and carers living on a low income met with parliamentarians over Zoom to mark a year of lockdown. At the meeting, facilitated as part of the Covid Realities research programme, parents set out what they believe needs to change if the future is to be a better one for all of us. 

Universal credit and work: the reality

21 July 2021
In attempting to justify the unjustifiable, namely the cut to universal credit that is due in October, secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey said the government was: ‘shift[ing] the focus strongly on to getting people into work.’ But this is a cut that will affect millions of working families. The government has subjected our social security system to so many cuts and freezes that families desperately needed the £20 increase and it must stay, but universal credit’s very design still makes it hard for parents to escape poverty through work.

Universal credit: what needs to change to make it fit for children and families?

21 July 2021
Universal credit (UC) is now the main working-age benefit in the UK. Since its inception, UC has been plagued with administrative issues and budget cuts and, as a result, its early promise to reduce poverty has yet to be realised. When the pandemic hit, swift changes were needed to make UC fit for purpose including an increase in the amount of financial support provided and a relaxation of some of its most punitive rules. However, the vast majority of these positive changes have already been reversed, or are due to be reversed in the coming months.

Post-COVID policy: child poverty, social security and housing

20 July 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the life of every child and their family in the country. Families with children have been among the worst affected, with job losses and increased costs of living from repeated lockdowns and school closures, causing many families to struggle financially. The pandemic has made life much harder for low-income households, those already living in insecure housing and at risk of homelessness, and those with precarious immigration status.

Official figures: number of families affected by two-child limit reaches 318,000

15 July 2021
Official figures out today show the number of families affected by the two-child limit in universal credit and tax credits jumped by 67,000 in the year to April 2021 to reach 318,000. 1.1 million children are now affected by the policy, up from 900,000 in April 2020.