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.
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.”