Social security freeze pushing 200,000 children into poverty says Oldham MP
Date published: 11 March 2019
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams
In her speech she cited estimates from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) that the freeze of child benefit and the child element of Universal Credit alone was responsible for pushing 200,000 more children into poverty by 2020.
Debbie said: “There is overwhelming evidence from CPAG, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), and many other charities, of the impact the freeze is having on child poverty.
“CPAG has estimated that by 2020 the freeze of child benefit and the child element of Universal Credit will be responsible for pushing 200,000 more children into poverty.”
Each year the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order provides for the annual uprating of some social security entitlements as enacted in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
During her speech Debbie listed the benefits that would not go up, saying: "This year the uprating order does not include Child Benefit, Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance for disabled people in the work-related activity group, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance rates, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and the majority of comparable elements of Universal Credit, as they have been subject to a four year freeze since 2015.”
Addressing the Minister, she said: "You claim that in your view this order doesn’t impact on the Human Rights Act. Under the act there is a right to education. How can children in poverty, who are hungry, who are cold, have the benefits of maximising the potential made available to them through education if they are hungry? And that’s what more and more children are facing."
Debbie added: “The stagnation of wages and rise in insecure work is putting immense strain on family budgets. Last year, working lone parents have seen a decline in the adequacy of their income to meet minimum costs, whether they work full or part time. Even working full time on the National Living Wage, they typically fall £70 a week short of a Minimum Income Standards budget*.
“By continuing the freeze on social security payments not included in this order, the Government is subjecting 10.4 million households to an average cut of £150 this year**.
“This year’s Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order was a chance for the Government to recognise the desperate reality for many of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society but they have failed to do so.”
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