Make universal credit fit for families
We were part of the #KeepTheLifeline campaign and helped secure changes to universal credit for working families in 2021. This included increases to the work allowance and a reduction to the taper rate.
We successfully campaigned for increases to the work allowance in 2018 too.
We have also campaigned on the long wait – initially people had to wait six weeks for their first payment of universal credit. In the November 2017 budget the chancellor announced that the wait would now effectively be five weeks, and there will be more help with advance payments. But this is not enough: we've joined the Trussell Trust's Five weeks too long campaign to end the wait.
Don't Zap the Zip
Children in London have been able to travel around the capital for free, or at a discounted rate, since 2005. In June 2020, the government offered a bailout deal to TfL which insisted on suspending free travel for under 18s. This would have been a disaster for families with children who are already struggling. We successfully campaigned for transport in London to be kept free for under 18s.
Give Me Five
Back in 2017, the Give Me Five campaign - a coalition of third sector, civic society and faith groups in Scotland - made the case for using Scotland’s new social security powers to invest in families on low incomes.
The Scottish government went on to introduce the Scottish child payment and it’s clear that the campaign succeeded in helping to secure this commitment to the income supplement.
There is still much work to be done to unlock children in Scotland from poverty – and to restore the value of social security support for families – but this new benefit was a welcome intervention and one that we are proud to have played our part in securing.
Child poverty targets
In 2016 the government planned to stop publishing statistics on children living in poverty. Following a lot of campaigning activity, the House of Lords rejected these plans. With the help of Rebecca and other supporters, we won our campaign: the government continues to publish statistics on child poverty each year.
Rebecca knows first-hand what it’s like to raise a family on not enough money:
"Anyone bringing up children will know the heartache of having to say to no to something the child wants. I dread Christmas, I hate it when I notice their trainers have got a hole in, or they bring another letter home from school... Food seems to be the only expense we have immediate control over, so that budget gets squeezed, and our home isn't as warm as we would like through the winter.
So when I heard that the government is planning to effectively give up on its duty to reduce child poverty, by scrapping child poverty targets, I was shocked. Instead of admitting they won’t hit that target in 2020, they plan to ignore child poverty completely and just monitor at ‘life chances’: whether parents are in work and how well kids do at their GCSEs."
Save tax credits
In the June 2015 budget, the government announced plans to cut tax credits which would have seen 3 million low-paid families lose an average of £1,350 a year. We campaigned intensively, and our analysis of what people in different low-paid jobs would lose from the cuts got lots of media coverage. The cuts were abandoned later that year.
The battle to save local welfare provision
Living on a low income means it is barely possible to manage everyday costs, let alone one-off or unexpected expenses like replacing a broken cooker. Local welfare provision, which replaced parts of the social fund, is designed to help with these unexpected costs, but it was cut in 2014. Through our campaigning we managed to save some of the money from being lost - £74 million of the £170 million original funding was restored.