CPAG briefs MPs on Welfare Reform and Work Bill

23 July 2015

CPAG briefed MPs in advance of the second reading of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on Monday 20th July. The Bill is wide ranging and contains provisions which, if passed, would:

  • Repeal most of the Child Poverty Act 2010, abandoning poverty reduction targets and proposing new measures of poverty focused on worklessness and educational attainment
  • Lower the benefit cap form £26,000 to £20,000 outside of London
  • Extend the freeze of working age benefits form two years to four years, lasting until 2020
  • Limit child tax credit to the first two children

John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland said,

“It’s vital that MPs use this second reading debate to reject UK government proposals aimed at scrapping child poverty measures and abandoning the commitment to eradicate child poverty in the UK by 2020. The move represents a monumental shifting of the goal posts on the part of the UK Government.”

“While levels of employment and attainment are vital indicators of success they are not a meaningful substitute for household income as a measure of child poverty. To focus on worklessness at the expense of income is to ignore the 56% of children in poverty in Scotland who live in working households.”

“As well as proposing to scrap child poverty targets, the Bill contains measures which are likely to see child poverty in Scotland rise dramatically. A freeze on the value of family benefits, reduced entitlement to tax credits and a £6,000 reduction in the benefit cap will deprive many families of the last traces of economic security, pulling the rug out from under their feet. The measures will prevent many families from giving their children the best start in life, undermining their health, happiness and future prospects.”

“It will also be essential to ensure that nothing in the Bill, and particularly the provision relating to a reduced benefits cap, will limit the Scottish Parliament’s ability to introduce more generous benefits for families in Scotland once further powers are devolved.”