Plans to freeze benefits for four years ‘will hit 7 million children’

The Children’s Society has urged ministers to reconsider plans for a four-year freeze on a range of benefits and agree a moratorium on future welfare cuts for low-income families. The charity made the call after its research suggested that the plans risk pushing more children into poverty.

More than 7 million children living in low-income families will be affected by a four-year freeze to their benefits that risks pushing many more into poverty, according to new research.  The report says families could lose up to 12% from the real value of their benefits over the next four years as a result of government plans to freeze child tax credits, working tax credits and jobseekers’ allowance from April.

The charity is calling on ministers to reconsider the planned freeze and agree to a moratorium on any further cuts in support for low-income families. It says almost two thirds of those who will be adversely affected live in working households who receive benefits to top up low pay.

Matthew Reed, Children’s Society chief executive, said:

“Families on low incomes are facing a barrage of cuts. If ministers are genuinely concerned about child poverty they must reconsider plans to freeze benefits over the next four years.

“At the very least, the government needs to guarantee there will be no further cuts when the chancellor delivers his budget next month.

“Austerity has hit families hard, including those in work. Further cuts to support would push more children into poverty and undermine incentives for families to move into work or earn more.”

The research paper The Future of Family Incomes is well worth reading.

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