Real terms benefit cut will come down hard on working families and push up child poverty

September 29, 2014

Commenting today on Chancellor George Osborne's announcement of a proposed two-year freeze on working-age benefits, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“This is bad news for working parents struggling on low wages, already coping with rising living costs and previous benefit cuts. A couple both working full time on the minimum wage are nearly a fifth short of the money they need for basics; another freeze will make it a whole lot harder for them.1 For many of these families a higher income tax threshold will be of little help since what they gain in wages is largely clawed back from their benefits*. Two thirds of poor children have at least one parent working.

“Independent projections by the IFS make clear that cuts in the uprating of benefits will be the single biggest driver of the sharp rise in child poverty expected in the next few years. Today’s announcement would inevitably put more children in poverty and further questions claims the Government is on track to meet its 2020 child poverty targets.

“If housing benefit is included in the freeze, the gap between housing benefit and rents will widen further, leaving many families in a desperate struggle to afford decent housing.”


Notes to Editors

Value of unemployment benefit/job seekers allowance as % of average earnings over time

Source: DWP Abstract of Statistics for Benefits, NI and Contributions, and Indices of Prices and Earnings 2013

  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

*Amended on 21 Oct 2014 to correct an error.

For further information please contact:

Jane Ahrends

CPAG Press and Campaigns Officer

Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302