Campaigners & experts warn more benefit cuts would be a tragedy

2 December 2012

The lead story in Monday's Independent is an open letter signed by more than 50 charities, trade unions and academics warning against more benefit cuts in this week's Autumn Statement. 

You can read the story here

The open letter is pasted below and here:

AUTUMN STATEMENT OPEN LETTER

This week's Autumn Statement could leave thousands of children and families even further away from being able to meet their essential costs of living. As organisations and individuals concerned with their wellbeing, we are increasingly worried that the statement may worsen already alarming projections that child poverty will rise by 800,000 by 2020.

With basic living costs increasing, we know many families are having to make difficult choices; a freeze on benefits and tax credits will make these choices even harder. Far too many families on low incomes live well below the poverty line. We know that nearly a quarter of the poorest families can't even afford to warm their homes.

It would be a tragedy for millions, and a travesty for the economy, to push the poorest into deeper poverty by this week failing to uprate benefits in line with inflation, or by making other cuts to social security for families and disabled people.

The Chancellor has plenty of tough decisions to make, but first and foremost he must protect the livelihoods of children in low-income families. The effects of rising child poverty are far-reaching and long-lasting for our economy. By limiting children's potential, poverty reduces the skills available to employers and harms economic growth. Child poverty is estimated to cost Britain at least £25bn a year in lost tax revenues and increased public service costs.

The Government must focus on the long-term successes that investment in our children will bring, by protecting the incomes of the poorest and maintaining their spending power in the economy.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Enver Solomon, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition

Phil Bloomer, Campaigns and Policy Director, Oxfam

Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, Gingerbread

Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive, Barnardo's

Helen Berresford, Head of Campaigns, Save the Children

Brendan Barber, General Secretary, TUC

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children's Society

Niall Cooper, National Coordinator, Church Action on Poverty

Steve Winyard, Head of Policy & Campaigns, Royal National Institute of Blind People

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive Working Families

Anne Longfield, Chief Executive, 4Children

Srabani Sen, Chief Executive, Contact a Family

Sean O'Neill, Policy Director, Children in Wales

Laura Courtney, Campaign Manager, Every Disabled Child Matters

Helen Dent CBE, Chief Executive, Family Action

Les Allamby, Director, Law Centre Northern Ireland

Cameron Watt, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations

Belinda Phipps Chief Executive, National Childbirth Trust

Dann Kenningham, National Coordination, ATD Fourth World UK

Rev Paul Nicolson, Chair, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

Susanne Rauprich, Chief Executive, The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services

Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action

Alison Taylor, Director, Turn2us

Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network

Fiona Blacke, Chief Executive, National Youth Agency

Paola Uccellari, Director, Children's Rights Alliance for England

Richard Hamer, Director of External Affairs, Capability Scotland

Martin Sime, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Peter Kelly, Chief Executive, The Poverty Alliance

Bill Scott, Manager, Inclusion Scotland

Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families Scotland

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary

Mary Bousted, ATL General Secretary

Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary

Paul Noon, Prospect General Secretary

John Hannett, USDAW General Secretary

Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary

Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT

Len McCluskey General Secretary, Unite

Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers

Professor John Veit-Wilson, Newcastle University

Dr Kitty Stewart, London School of Economics

Eva Lloyd, Reader in Early Childhood, University of East London

Adrian Sinfield, Emeritus professor of social policy, The University of Edinburgh

Mary Taylor, Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Stewart Wallis OBE, Executive Director of the New Economics Foundation

Will Horwitz, Policy & Media Coordinator, Community Links

Alison Todd, Deputy Chief Executive, Children 1st

Margaret Lynch, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

Neil Coyle, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Disability Rights UK