Responding to the government's Autumn Statement, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, said:
'Measures in this year’s Autumn Statement hit low-income working families hard. Two-thirds of children in poverty are in working families, but by freezing the work allowance for Universal Credit over the next three years, the government is making it harder for families to make work pay.
Families worse off
'And new changes to the way that tax credit overpayments are repaid could leave low income families worse off and drive them into debt.
'We welcome the announcement that free school meals are available to all children in infant school, following our Fair and Square campaign for all children in poverty to get a free school meal.
'It is also significant that the government is protecting support for home improvements to reduce energy bills for low income families until 2017.
'But if, as the Chancellor says, the government really wants to "repair the roof while the sun shines", much more needs to be done to help improve the lives of children living in poverty.'
Notes to editors
- 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty
- Universal Credit claimants can keep a certain amount of earnings before these start to affect their earnings. This is a key part of what makes sure that families remain better off when they move into work. However, as a result of the Autumn Statement, it has been announced that the level of these work allowances will be frozen for the next three years.
- Tax Credit claimants frequently get paid too much in Tax Credits as a result of an error in their payments, or as a result of a change in household circumstances. Normally if it is discovered during the course of a year that they have already received their whole entitlement for that year, on-going payments that year would be reduced by 25%. The change means that payments will stop altogether.
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.