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Benefit levels

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.

The Cost of a Child in London: help with childcare fees ‘woefully inadequate’

10 June 2021
High childcare costs and failure to uprate support are putting full-time jobs beyond the reach of low-earning London parents who don’t have anyone to provide free childcare, a new report warns.  And a growing number of even part-time jobs won’t make work pay for hard-up Londoners with young children if caps on childcare support in Universal Credit remain frozen while childcare costs continue to rise. 

Universal credit and mental health

07 May 2021
There is no doubt that the past year has changed all of our lives in ways we could not have imagined - affecting our relationships, our finances and our mental health. For families living on a low income though, the daily stresses of getting by were unfortunately nothing new, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. Families have faced additional costs such as higher food and energy bills associated with staying at home more. New evidence shows that those in the greatest financial difficulty going into the pandemic are more likely to have reported mental health problems.

'State of the nation' report to put ending child poverty at the heart of remaining Holyrood campaign

23 April 2021
'State of the nation' report to put ending poverty at the heart of remaining Holyrood campaign Politicians to respond to new 'Poverty in Scotland 2021' report in front of over 300 policy makers, service providers, academics, trade unionists and activists Child poverty targets can be met say experts, but over one million people still in poverty across Scotland

Poverty in Scotland 2021 - towards a 2030 without poverty? A summary briefing

23 April 2021
The 'Poverty in Scotland' book is a unique collaboration. It brings together academics, anti-poverty campaigners, public officials, trade unionists and practitioners to provide a state of the nation assessment of the scale, nature and impact of poverty. It assesses the progress that has been made and the policies now needed to ensure Scotland’s ambitions toward ending poverty are realised.

How can we improve social security? Let’s start by listening to families

24 March 2021
While some of us are counting down the days until the next stage of unlocking, eager to go out for a meal or go shopping, for many families living on a low income there is no end in sight. As one parent explained, the end of restrictions would mean going “from a viral lockdown to a financial lockdown”.