The impact of your donations in 2022/23
Our impact in 2022/23
At the beginning of the cost of living crisis we convened a coalition of organisations united behind the need for more support for people delivered through the social security system. Our calls contributed to the UK government introducing targeted support from May 2022. Following successful campaigning, the government then confirmed benefits would be uprated properly, only the fourth time in 13 years that benefits have been uprated by inflation. We also secured the first ever increase to the benefit cap, meaning all families would see their support increase by 10.1 per cent.
The Scottish child payment, now at £25 a week thanks to longstanding campaigning led by CPAG, was rolled out to all eligible under 16s from November 2022. We successfully secured a doubling of the final Scottish child payment bridging payment – an additional £130 payment for children entitled to free school meals.
Welfare benefits advice for advisers
Our second-tier service for advisers responded to 7,760 cases, helping an estimated 31,040 people. Our Upper Tribunal and judicial review specialist advice services advised on 39 upper tribunal cases from 32 advisers at 32 organisations.
The UK Cost of the School Day project, in the three years to December 2022, ‘poverty proofed’ 55 schools (39 primary, 13 secondary and 1 SEN school) with partners Children North East. Together, we reached 25,000 pupils, of whom 12,000 took part in discussions and focus groups. We also heard from 2,000 parents and carers.
Your Work, Your Way supported 70 clients in 2022 in Bury, Coventry, Luton and Taunton with benefits advice and personal employment support. An annual average of £2,579 per client in benefits was claimed for 22 clients (to date). As well as demonstrating how the social security system can better support families, we showcased our approach to personal employment support and overcoming barriers to employment (eg, childcare and lack of transport).
In the 2023 Spring Statement, the UK government announced the expansion of before- and after-school childcare provision (something we have long called for), the lifting of the cap on childcare fees that can be reimbursed to parents on universal credit, and the switch to payment of childcare costs upfront rather than in arrears for parents on universal credit. It was also positive to see the expansion of free childcare places to children from nine months to two-year-olds, which we have repeatedly highlighted was a gap in support.
CPAG continues to uphold families’ rights through our strategic litigation work. We were pleased to see the government finally extend bereavement support payment to non-married parents this year. Around 21,000 families will be able to make retrospective claims for this and its predecessor, widowed parent’s allowance, and an estimated 1,800 additional families will benefit every year from now on.
Rights of EU nationals to benefits
We had a significant win in the Upper Tribunal in December. We took the case on behalf of a mother and daughter who fled home following domestic abuse with no cash at all. The mum has pre-settled status, an immigration status for EU nationals who have lived in the UK for less than five years. When she applied for universal credit to support her and her daughter the application was refused. We argued that this meant the family may be unable to live in dignified conditions and were at risk of not having the resources to buy adequate food, clothing and shelter. We argued that the family should be given universal credit. The tribunal agreed with us.
Benefit cap mitigation in Scotland
The Scottish government provided guidance and funding for local authorities to mitigate the benefit cap as fully as possible using discretionary housing payments. Case evidence from our Early Warning System alongside our social security expertise, allowed us to support Scottish government officials to turn this longstanding policy call into a deliverable reality.
Highlights from 2021/22
- Families benefited from the £20 a week increase to universal credit and working tax credit until October 2021.
- Rather than retaining the £20 increase, the UK government made changes to the universal credit taper rate and work allowance - a step in the right direction for low-income working families.
- The Scottish child payment was doubled to £20 a week from April 2022 and will rise to £25 a week by December 2022.
- The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill was passed for schools in England, meaning schools have to ensure their uniforms are affordable for families.
- In Scotland, the school uniform grant available to eligible families has been increased to a minimum of £120 for primary and £150 for secondary.
- The Welsh government announced a £10 million package of investment in the Pupil Development Grant - Access to help with the cost of the school day. It can be used by eligible families to pay for uniform, learning materials and laptops and has recently been extended to 30,000 more families.
- All primary school pupils in Wales will get free school meals by 2024. The Scottish government has provided funding so that core curriculum costs can be waived: this means costs such as materials for home economics, musical tuition and drama qualifications do not land on families.
- The Scottish government has committed to a system of ‘wraparound’ childcare, providing care before and after school, all year round. Those on the lowest incomes will pay nothing, and others will make fair and affordable contributions.