The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, today outlined his Spring Budget, but failed to provide any relief for families who are feeling the pinch because of a four year freeze to children’s benefits.
Today’s figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that inflation will be 3.9% in 2017/18 – half a per cent higher than previously forecast, and approaching twice the rate of inflation last year. Prices are rising much more rapidly than anticipated when these benefit freezes were put in place.
In total End Child Poverty research demonstrates that prices are estimated to rise by 35% between 2010 and 2020, but Child Benefit will have increased by just 2% over the same period – around a seventeenth of what would be needed to keep up with increases in the cost of living.
Sam Royston, Chair of the End Child Poverty coalition said:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Chancellor has not recognised or addressed the impact that rising inflation is having on family budgets. End Child Poverty research shows that the freeze to children’s benefits will mean that low income families are up to £2800 a year worse off by 2020. Yet instead of using the Budget to help disadvantaged families, the Chancellor has left them out in the cold.
“Freezing benefits may not reduce the amount of cash in people’s pockets, but cash isn’t what matters – what matters is what people can to afford to buy with it. Families on a low income simply cannot afford to pay the increased prices of food, fuel and travel when there is no increase to the pounds in their pocket.”
“Poverty has a massive impact on children’s lives. It leads to a poorer childhood and worse outcomes throughout life. Child poverty also has a cost to society as a whole – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year. The Government must address this issue of rising child poverty.”
Notes to editors
1. The End Child Poverty coalition (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of around 100 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty. These include Child Poverty Action Group, The Children’s Society, Buttle UK, Contact a Family, Family Action, Barnardo’s, Gingerbread, Oxfam, Action for Children, TUC, Family and Childcare Trust, Save the Children, and the National Children’s Bureau.
2. According to Households Below Average Income figures, there were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2014-15. 64% of those children living in poverty are in working households. (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/households-below-average-income-hbai–2)
3. There is a 28 per cent gap between children receiving free school meals and their wealthier peers in terms of the number achieving at least five A*-C GCSE grades. (Department for Education, GCSE and Equivalent Attainment by Pupil Characteristics: 2014, February 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gcse-and-equivalent-attainment-by-pupil-characteristics-2014)
4. Child poverty also has a cost to society as a whole – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year. (D Hirsch, Estimating the Costs of Child Poverty, Child Poverty Action Group, 2013)
5. End Child Poverty’s Feeling the Pinch report outlines the impact of the benefit freeze in more detail. http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/images/Feelingthepinch/ECP-FeelingThePinch-final-report.pdf
6. You can get in touch with the coalition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07918 567577.