Policy reports

Our latest policy reports are collected on this page in date order.

See also our briefings and consultation responses.

Computer says 'No!' - Stage two: challenging decisions

In the second in this series, our report looks at problems with understanding decisions, challenging errors and protecting the rights of people claiming universal credit (UC). It outlines some of the problems claimants experience when they try to challenge a decision about their UC award. These problems have been identified by analysing case studies received via CPAG’s Early Warning System (EWS). More information and download.

All Kids Count: The impact of the two-child limit after two years

This report from CPAG, the Church of England, Women's Aid, Turn2Us and the Refugee Council looks at the impact of the two-child limit. An estimated 160,000 families have already been affected by the two-child limit to date; the majority are working families and the majority have just three children. More information and download.

Universal credit: what needs to change to reduce child poverty and make it fit for families?

This report calls for design and funding changes to improve claimants’ experience of universal credit and to reduce child poverty. It includes new analysis by IPPR. More information and download.

The costs of education in an age of austerity: a local study

This report presents the findings of a small-scale, local study of the costs of education in secondary schools in Oxford, from the viewpoint of parents.

The research was conducted by the Oxford and District Action on Child Poverty group, whose goals were: to assess the costs of education for children in secondary schools in Oxford; to find out how families perceived these costs and their impact, and if and how they managed to cover them; and to learn what schools had done to respond to the impact of these costs on families and the outcomes of their responses. The focus was on pupils in year 7 in secondary school.

Read the report

Early warning system top issues (to April 2019)

The latest update report of top issues reaching our early warning system reveals ongoing problems with people being wrongly directed to universal credit and people moving to universal credit and becoming significantly worse off, as well as a number of problems with specific elements of universal credit: housing costs, real time information, access to appeal rights, and failure to adequately meet support needs. More information and download

Computer says 'no!' Stage one: information provision

This report presents case studies and analysis from CPAG’s Early Warning System (EWS) to highlight problems with the information provided to people claiming universal credit (UC). The report focuses on two key areas: the information provided to claimants about payment decisions, and the information provided to claimants about their right to challenge decisions if they do not agree with them. More information and download

The Cost of a Child in 2018

Our latest Cost of a Child report shows what it costs to raise a child to age 18, based on what the public thinks is a minimum acceptable standard of living. More information and download.

Rough justice: Problems with monthly assessment of pay and circumstances in universal credit, and what can be done about them

This report identifies a range of problems arising from the rigid system of monthly assessment of both income and circumstances in universal credit, based on cases from CPAG's Early Warning System, and proposes practical solutions. More information and download

CPAG’s early warning system – report on universal credit top issues

This report brings together cases from our early warning system, analysing the most common universal credit problems we're seeing. More information and download

Extended schools

A report with the University of Sheffield looking at the potential of extended schools to benefit disadvantaged children, support parental employment and tackle holiday hunger. More information and download.

Unhappy Birthday! The two-child limit at one year old

Alongside the Church of England we have produced a report looking at the two-child limit policy one year after its introduction. More information and download

Child poverty and education: A survey of the experiences of NEU members

A joint National Education Union (NEU) and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) survey received responses from 908 NEU members working in early years, primary and secondary schools and settings across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. More information and download.

Emergency Use Only: 2017 Update

An update to our original Emergency Use Only report, this report assesses the progress made, in policy and practice, towards meeting the challenges driving foodbank use. More information and download.

A question of responsibility: problems with child benefit and income support when women and their children flee domestic violence

Our new report, which draws on evidence from our advice work, outlines a problem some women have when they leave an abusive partner and need benefits to support their children. More information and download.

The Austerity Generation: the impact of a decade of cuts on family incomes and child poverty

Our new research, conducted with the Institute for Public Policy Research, models the impact of cuts to social security over the decade. More information and download.

Cost of a child 2017

Our Cost of a Child in 2017 report calculates the cost of raising a child in the UK based on the minimum income standard (MIS).The report finds that inflation and the benefit freeze are making it more and more difficult for families. Between 2012 and 2019, benefits will have risen by just 3% while prices are projected to have risen by 12%. More information and download.

Moving to The London Living Wage: A Guide for Local Authorities in London

This is a practical, comprehensive guide from CPAG and the Living Wage Foundation, which aims to help local authorities in London become accredited Living Wage employers. More information and download

Poverty and child health: views from the frontline

This report, published by CPAG and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, reveals the devastating impact of poverty on children's health as seen by doctors working at the frontline. Of a survey of over 250 paediatricians, two-thirds believe that poverty and low income contribute 'very much' to ill health among the children they work with. More information and download.

Cost of a child 2016

How much does it cost to raise a child in 2016? This annual research from CPAG and Professor Donald Hirsch, Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, finds that parents working on the new higher minimum wage still cannot earn enough to provide an acceptable minimum standard of living for their children. More information and download.

Unfinished business: where next for extended schools?

CPAG and the Family and Childcare Trust map the current provision of extended schools in the UK and compare it with parental demand for services. More information and download

Still too poor to pay

Read the latest report from CPAG and Z2K in a series that examines how London council tax support schemes have changed in the last three years and analyses the impact these changes have had on claimants. More information and download.

Children in London - the extra costs

London childcare costs leave many parents on the minimum wage little or no better off for working more, a new report warns. The report by Loughborough University’s Donald Hirsch, finds most of the costs children bring are similar in and outside London, but the capital’s housing and childcare costs associated with kids are dramatically different from the rest of the UK. More information and download.

Cost of a child 2015

Our annual research on the cost of raising a child finds families working on the minimum wage are on the brink of a new crisis in family finances that wil leave many struggling. While the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 remains high at £149,805, state support to help cover these costs is set to deteriorate sharply. More information and download.

Too poor to pay

Too poor to pay tracks the impact of the second year (2014-15) of localised council tax support schemes which replaced national council tax benefit in April 2013. Council tax support is for people on low incomes, in or out-of-work, and reduces the amount of their council tax bill they are liable for. More information and download.

Reforms to Universal Credit

The TUC and CPAG co-author this report on how reforms to Universal Credit could reduce child poverty. The research compares 13 reforms, grouped into: raising the income tax threshold; reducing the taper rate; increasing work allowances; and increasing the child element. It finds that the tax threshold proposal cost by far the most, yet came bottom of the list for its child poverty reducing potential. More information and download.

Round the clock: in-work poverty and the 'hours question'

April 2015

How many hours should a parent work in order not to be poor? In-work poverty is a growing phenomenon in the UK and increasingly central to the political debate. At CPAG, we see in-work poverty as the product of three key variables: low wages; the level of social security that families receive; and the number of hours that parents work. This report explores the third of these factors asking how many hours is it reasonable to expect parents to work. More information and download.

Programme for government, 2015-2020

April 2015

The 2015 government faces a child poverty crisis: by 2020, there are predicted to be 700,000 more children in poverty than there were in 2010. Our programme for government sets out six steps the government can take to face up to this crisis. More information and download.

The road to the food bank is paved by failures in the safety net: new report

November 2014

Visiting a food bank should be a last resort: we all hope that if times get hard, the safety net is there to make sure we aren’t left without the means to buy food for ourselves or our family. Yet new research from the Child Poverty Action Group, Oxfam, Church of England and the Trussell Trust has found that failures in the social safety net itself are often the trigger for food bank referrals.
More information and download.

The cost of a child 2014

August 2014

This report draws on the Minimum Income Standard project (MIS) to establish how much families need to cover their basic needs like food, clothes and shelter, and to participate in society.  The research shows that year on year, the cost of a child has been rising faster than inflation while support families receive from the state is falling. More information and download.

A new poll tax?

July 2014

This report looks at the impact of the localisation of council tax benefit and the accompanying cut to funding in London. More information and download.

Families on the brink

June 2014

This report looks at the impact of welfare reform in London where child poverty rates and housing costs are already higher than other parts of the country and finds fears that the capital could become unaffordable for low income families. More information and download.

Let's all have lunch!

September 2013

This report makes the case for why London local authorities should invest in universal free school meals for primary school children. More information and download

An estimate of the cost of child poverty in 2013

June 2013

The high levels of child poverty in the UK are currently costing the country at least £29 billion a year – or £1,098 per household – according to new research by Donald Hirsch of Loughborough University. More information and download


Will Universal Credit Work?

April 2013

This report, published by the TUC and CPAG, finds that universal credit risks failing even on its own terms unless adjustments to its design are made and broader policies to tackle the causes of poverty are put in place. More information and download


The Double Lockout: How low income families will be locked out of fair living standards

January 2013

This report, published on the eve of the second reading of the Welfare Benefits Up-Rating Bill 2012-13, reveals that the government’s welfare benefit uprating legislation is based on bogus claims and is a poverty-producing bill that will further exclude the poorest workers, jobseekers, carers and disabled people from the mainstream of society. More information and download


Ending Child Poverty by 2020: progress made and lessons learned

Updated December 2012 (originally published June 2012)

In this landmark report, CPAG has brought together leading academics and campaigners to reflect on the progress made towards ending child poverty in the UK, as well as to consider the risks for the future. More information and download


Young people's thoughts on child poverty policy

December 2012

Five groups of young people from some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England have produced their own local area child poverty strategies: Gateshead, Liverpool, Manchester, Tower Hamlets, and Westminster.  This report presents all of their ideas. More information and download


We can work it out: parental employment in London

November 2012

Child poverty in London is mostly explained by the low rates of parents in paid employment. In London, 17.2 per cent of children live in workless households, compared with 15.1 per cent in the UK as a whole; over half of lone parents in London are out of work, compared with 38 per cent in the UK. But this report shows that low parental employment rates in London are not an intractable problem. Many more parents in London have moved into work in recent years, and many more could do so if this were made a priority for local, regional and central government. More information and download


Between a rock and a hard place: early impacts of welfare reform on London

November 2012

This report from our London project examines the early impact of welfare reforms across London. It finds that the reforms will create problems for local authorities and families with children, and makes recommendations to national, regional and local government, and to advice agencies, on how best to mitigate these. More information and download


The implementation of the Child Poverty Act: examining child poverty strategies in London local authorities

October 2012

This report from CPAG and 4in10 at Save the Children examines progress and best practice in implementing child poverty strategies across local authorities in London. More information and download


Cost of a Child 2012

September 2012

At a time when many families are finding it hard to make ends meet, how much does it cost to bring up a child to meet their needs to a decent minimum standard? This report from CPAG, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, answers that question to show for the first time in a robust way how much it costs to provide children with a minimum level of participation in society, as well as catering for their needs in terms of food, clothes and shelter. More information and download


Going Hungry? Young people's experience of free school meals

June 2012

Child Poverty Action Group and the British Youth Council published this report on the failure of the free school meals system to reach all children in poverty. More information and download


Save child benefit

March 2012

Child benefit, the only universal payment for children, is under threat.

The value of child benefit has been frozen until 2013/14, drastically cutting the amount families receive, and it will be taxed away from families in a complex and deeply unfair way. These changes are unfair, unaffordable and unworkable. We are calling for the freeze to child benefits to be lifted and rates to be restored, and for tax on child benefit to be stopped. More information and download


Child benefit: fit for the future?

August 2006

August 2006 marked the sixtieth anniversary of universal benefits for children in the UK – first family allowances, then child benefit. Support for all children redistributes resources to those with additional costs, to the time in the lifecycle when extra is needed, and to the next generation. And it shows the value society places on children, not just as an investment but also in their own right. More information and download