Response to Stephen Crabb’s first speech as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

April 12, 2016

In response to Stephen Crabb’s maiden speech as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“This was a positive start from Stephen Crabb. We agree that DWP must treat people as human beings, living real lives, with all the change and complexity that involves. But a Government in the business of families must also look carefully at the impact its benefit cuts will have on families’ lives.

“The Secretary of State acknowledges that worklessness is now at an all-time low – the question he should now turn to is whether families are better off in work. In fact, almost two thirds of children in poverty having one or both parents in work. Universal Credit, which could have been a worthy tool for the ‘all-out assault on poverty’ that Crabb promises, has been crippled by repeated Treasury raids so that it will now leave people worse off than under the current system and ministers refuse to say what impact it will have on the number of people in poverty.

“What we now need is action to match the rhetoric – or else Stephen Crabb will be faced with the very real threat that this Government’s main social policy legacy could be the biggest rise in child poverty for a generation. The IFS projects child poverty will rise by half by 2020, from 2.3m to 3.6m children. A social security system that transforms lives is incomplete without a clear and adequately funded plan to tackle low pay, help parents with the costs of a child and to provide affordable homes.”