Josephine Tucker's blog
The benefits freeze has left families out in the cold – but just £20 per month for families would help restore children’s benefits and keep 100,000 out of poverty.
In yesterday’s Budget the Chancellor waited till the last minute to announce new money being put into universal credit (UC). That’s a sign of the political importance this issue now has, and tells us that years of campaigning are starting to cut through. Thanks are due to all our supporters, activists and friends who have helped us get to this point.
There is a lot of discussion in the media this week about the immediate and long-term impact of Universal Credit (UC), whether people will be better or worse off, and whether the ‘losers’ will have their incomes protected when they first move over to UC. This blog seeks to clarify the story.
Broken promises: What has happened to support for low-income working families under universal credit
Today’s Guardian covered new analysis by CPAG and IPPR on the impact of cuts to universal credit. This analysis shows that universal credit cuts will hit families with children hardest, and will be poverty-producing to the tune of around a million children (comparing universal credit as originally designed with its current form).
Today sees the benefit cap – the limit on total benefits which households can receive if no-one works at least 16 hours a week – fall from £26,000 a year to £20,000, or £23,000 in London. The 20,000 or so families currently capped will see their housing benefit reduced overnight by £500 or £250 a month, starting from today. That’s a huge amount to expect people to find from their other income, but most will have to do that or risk losing their home. For new households, the cap will be introduced in phases starting with local authorities with the fewest affected households and finishing with those with the most (such as Birmingham) in February 2017.
Anyone following the story of Universal Credit’s painfully delayed roll-out will already be familiar with its time-bending qualities, but this month’s cuts to its work allowances mean that many hard-pressed parents now need to work a thirteen- or fourteen-month year just to protect current income levels.
Last week the Welfare Reform and Work Bill entered committee stage in the House of Lords.
This was the question facing a panel convened by Bright Blue and the Child Poverty Action Group at a fringe event I attended at the Conservative Party Conference this week. Josephine Tucker reports.
After the 2015 election the Prime Minister promised ‘blue-collar Conservatism’, which he said was about 'giving everyone in our country the chance to get on, with the dignity of a job, the pride of a pay cheque, a home of their own and the security and peace of mind that comes from being able to support a family’.