Megan Jarvie's blog
With conference ‘fun’ over, it’s back to business as usual and the relentless march of the benefit cap. With parliament returning this week, today work will continue on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. And, chief amongst our concerns with the measures proposed in the bill, include the impact on children of lowering the level of the benefit cap and how to prevent its most harmful effects.
"It will come as little surprise that raising a child is expensive, and that in London it has the potential to be more expensive than other parts of the country. However, new research from Child Poverty Action Group on the extra costs of children in the capital has brought up some intriguing findings that are relevant for the whole country."
What's the point of working tax credits? David Cameron has called their use into question by highlighting the role they play in enabling big businesses to get away with paying poverty wages. But this overlooks the important role that working tax credits play in enabling parents to enter or stay in the labour market working less than full-time.
The child poverty figures released yesterday once again showed London still tops the league table of high child poverty rates but, more strikingly, highlighted the growing impact housing costs are having on poverty in the capital.
Today the government released the latest official poverty statistics (for 2013-14). Anyone aware of the projections made by the IFS and the NPI think tanks may be feeling slightly confused that, essentially, child poverty rates haven’t shifted on the previous year (although half a million more children are in absolute poverty than in 2010).
Four in ten Londoners in families aren’t able to afford a minimum standard of living. For lone parent families, this rises to two thirds.
These were the findings of new research as part of the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) project from Loughborough University, funded by Trust for London. This work is based on a series of focus groups where members of the public reach a consensus on what is needed, not only to ensure survival, but “in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society.”
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.
Maria is one of thousands of parents up and down the country who have received support from their council through local welfare provision funding. She was living with her abusive partner and her child, with no access to the household’s money, and no family in the country.