By Mark Willis, Welfare Rights Adviser at CPAG in Scotland
The government has been busy promoting its new tax-free childcare scheme, with its own Twitter hashtag, infographics on Flickr, and even a Facebook photo album. These proudly boast that a working family with two children can save up to £4,000 a year. The ‘top ten things to know about tax-free childcare’ announces the scheme will be simpler, fairer, and available to families earning over £52 a week and not more than £150,000 per year. However, low income families need to know that tax-free childcare offers them nothing - and could even leave them significantly worse off if they apply for it.
We contributed an essay to a new publication by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies: The first 100 days - what should a progressive government implement?
With the 2015 General Election fast approaching, we’re hearing lots of the usual promises from all of the parties about what they’ll do if they make it into government post May 7. From the standard commitments to the NHS, through the enduring promises of sorting out the economy, down to pledges to deal with immigration and look after the elderly, the party manifestos and messages contain many common themes.
This article was first published on the Newstatesman blog.
How many hours should low-paid parents be expected to work? Universal credit (UC) pilots launched today provide an insight into government thinking on this question.
Whoever wins on May 7 will be confronted by a child poverty crisis. That’s why CPAG today publishes its Programme for Government, a document setting out what the next Government must do to put the UK on track to end child poverty.
Read CPAG’s Programme for Government.
This blog was first posted on the UK Human Rights Blog.
The Supreme Court was sharply divided yesterday over whether the benefit cap breaches the Human Rights Act. The controversial cap limits the total amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive, including housing benefit and benefits for children, to £500 per week. It is applied regardless of family size or circumstances such as rental costs. As a result, lone parents with children in large families are disproportionately affected, both because they are more likely to be hit by the cap and because they are less likely to be able to avoid its effects.
Back in the early 2000s, ‘child poverty’ was the term on every politician’s lips. The lead up to the Child Poverty Act in 2010 achieved cross-party consensus on the necessity of eradicating child poverty by 2020. These days, enthusiasm to give children in poverty the attention they deserve seems more muted.
If you had heard the Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, reassuring MP on Monday this week about future funding levels of Discretionary Housing Payments (which help vulnerable families hit by housing benefit cuts to meet their rent payments and prevent homelessness), you would be forgiven for believing that, on this issue, the Government was making adequate resources available to meet needs. And no-one would blame you for not realising that funding for this lifeline has been cut by 24% for next year.