This blog was originally published on Progress.
Just days after Iain Duncan Smith resigned as Work & Pensions Secretary, citing his unease with the Summer Budget’s cuts to Universal Credit, today the Government has published a written answer in which it refuses to update its own assessment of how many children, if any, will be lifted out of poverty by the flagship policy following these cuts.
The Welfare Reform and Work Act received Royal Assent last week. Now it’s here, when do its key provisions come into force?
When the Welfare Reform and Work Bill was published back at the end of last summer, it drew a cacophony of groans from people working with children and families. They knew that when, in 2013, the coalition government first consulted on scrapping income-based measures of child poverty and moving towards a life chances approach, 98% of the consultation responses disagreed vehemently with the idea.
The IFS today reports on its projections for poverty levels both now and looking forward to 2020. Its findings are in keeping with those from the Resolution Foundation in the autumn. The IFS projects a 50 per cent increase in relative child poverty – from 17.0 per cent in 2014-15 to 25.7 per cent in 2020-21 – and an increase in absolute child poverty from 16.7 per cent in 2014-15 to 18.3 per cent in 2020-21.
Yesterday the Government voted to scrap an amendment made to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill by the House of Lords, to oblige the Government to report on how many children are growing up poor.
Following last month’s victory in the Court of Appeal, the battle continues for Paul and Sue Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson, Warren. The Court held that the ‘bedroom tax’ (or under-occupancy penalty) is in breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, unlawfully discriminating against disabled children requiring overnight care and victims of domestic violence living in Sanctuary Scheme Homes (in the case of ‘A’). The Government was quick to appeal this decision. We have been representing the Rutherford family since 2013 and will be in the Supreme Court defending the Court of Appeal’s decision from 29 February. SSWP v Rutherfords has been joined with other bedroom tax cases, MA & Others and A.