A leading children’s charity has said policies outlined in the Queen’s speech will benefit low income families least and criticised plans for further welfare cuts.
Responding to the Queen’s speech, Head of Policy and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Imran Hussain said:
“Today’s Queen’s Speech leaves the low paid still facing benefit cuts, still gaining least from the personal tax allowance rise.
“The best test of the Government’s stated desire to provide opportunities for the most disadvantaged is its child poverty record. Unless it takes action now, it will fail that test comprehensively.
“With two thirds of poor children living in working families, the focus on those in work is welcome but freezing in-work benefits will harm the low paid, undermine the Government’s own flagship Universal Credit and mean that the Government fails to meet the statutory targets it signed up to ending child poverty.”
Imran Hussain said: “The extra hours of free childcare are a great step forward for the many parents who are either priced out of the jobs market or who can’t increase their hours because childcare costs are spiralling.
“It’s essential ministers implement this measure properly, ensuring that the childcare help on offer is of good quality in every area.”
Higher tax allowance
Imran Hussain said: “The Government is right to recognise that we need to do more for the low paid but, despite the hype, the big winners of raising the personal tax allowance are people in higher income groups not the low paid, who benefit least because their incomes are small and who find much of what they gain under this policy will be clawed back by the benefits system.
“The Government could do far more for the low paid, at a much lower cost, by investing instead in tax credits and its own flagship Universal Credit.”
Imran Hussain said: “The benefit cap has pushed more children into poverty, breached international law and has done little to make work a more viable option for the families hit by it, with very few moving into work or to a new home.
“On the Government’s own terms, it has failed, producing negligible, if any, savings.
“Most of the parents affected are single mums or dads with children so young that even the Government thinks they should not have to work.
“Ministers have yet to make a case for a policy that the DWP’s own impact assessment reveals is nine times more likely to hit children than adults.
“A lower cap would undermine, not strengthen, family security.”