CPAG Blog

Rights (and wrongs) of sanctions

At Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), we’ve had longstanding concerns about the use of sanctions, which are basically cuts to benefit payments of up to 100% for up to 3 years, and the obvious knock-on impacts on child poverty.  And as the letter in today's Times that we and others have signed shows, we’re not alone in having profound concerns with how sanctions are working.

Until now, there’s been little authoritative evidence of how sanctions are being applied, rightly or wrongly, beyond data suggesting a huge increase in their application in recent years.

9 reasons to protect child benefit

"I'm not going to flannel you, I'm going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn't change child benefit, I wouldn't means-test it, I don't think that is a good idea."

So said
David Cameron in March 2010. But the Prime Minister is being urged to drop this read-my-lips pledge when his party draws up its manifesto in the coming months. 

According to reports today the think tank Policy Exchange is calling for child benefit to be tapered away as families have more children. Others are urging him on to go even further. 

A new poll tax?

If I lost my job tomorrow, one of the things that I would expect would be that while I was not earning, I would not be paying tax. However, in 26 out of 33 London boroughs this is not the case: I would still need to pay council tax.

Standing up for CPAG

On Tuesday 15 July, the Geek Show Off (ticket £5.00 plus £0.50 booking fee) a comedy night raising money for Child Poverty Action Group is being held at the Star of Kings pub in central London. 

Recently, I was talked into doing something I’ve been dreading. On Tuesday 15th July, with several others, I have to stand on stage in front of a crowd of people in a dark room in Camden, and for 9 minutes, make them laugh.

Let's all have lunch!

People often lament how the world of politics has very little to do with the ordinary lives of real people. For some parents, at least, that’s about to change.

From September, all infant school children will be entitled to a free school meal. Across the country, children from all backgrounds will sit down together to a nutritious, healthy free lunch, fuelling concentration and learning.

A quick guide to...the new child poverty figures expected on Tuesday

Next week sees the publication of probably the last set of official child poverty figures - for 2012-13 - before the 2015 general election.

Here’s a quick guide to what we should expect and what it all means.

WHAT, WHERE & WHEN?

The Future of Judicial Review

Speech to the Human Rights Lawyers' Association 26 June 2014

It’s hardly surprising that politicians tend not to like having the lawfulness of their decisions questioned by the Courts. Like any frustrated litigant, when a Minister loses a judicial review case he or she is more likely to blame the judge than their own decision-making, whereas when they win, they’re quick to criticise the Claimant for bringing the case in the first place.

Can universal credit be made to work to reduce poverty?

 

This blog was originally published by Richard Exell and Lindsay Judge on Touchstone.

Universal credit (UC) may be much-maligned but like it or not, it’s coming our way. Given this, how can it best deliver on its dual promise to make work pay and reduce poverty? The TUC and Child Poverty Action Group have been exploring this question in recent months, ably assisted by Howard Reed of Landman Economics. Here, we offer a sneak preview of our results.

Families on the brink: welfare reform in London

London’s housing crisis is well publicised and well discussed. We're used to reading about extortionate rents being charged for box properties or a generation that is likely to be priced out of buying.

But there is another side to this crisis which is getting discussed less. Our new report, Families on the Brink, shows a London becoming unaffordable for people on housing benefit, leaving families at risk of being forced out of their communities and London at risk of losing its social mix.

The government’s child poverty strategy needs to be more child-focused, more poverty-focused, and more strategic

This week, the official consultation closed on, potentially, the Coalition’s most important social policy objective– the new child poverty strategy.

Running from 2014-17, the draft strategy covers  the critical period during which we’d expect to see a big push to meet the statutory target to end child poverty by 2020 – especially given Iain Duncan Smith’s recent reaffirmation that he both remains committed to the target, and expects it to be met.