7 Jan 2013

This Tuesday, MPs will debate the introduction of a one per cent cap on benefit and tax credit increases under the welfare benefits up-rating bill

If introduced, this hardship penalty will hurt millions of families across the country. Families already struggling to pay for food, fuel, rent and other basics, will see their budgets further squeezed.

Many thousands have turned to food banks for help. Nearly half of teachers say they often see children going hungry. And shockingly, six million households are struggling to afford to heat their homes. 

As the cost of fuel, food and housing rise again, we can expect to see these problems become even more severe and widespread.

This hardship penalty is not an isolated cut. It comes on top of a raft of cuts being introduced this year. This includes freezes to child benefit and working tax credit, and cuts to housing benefit and council tax benefit. These changes will hurt both working and non-working households. 

As a result of the one per cent cap, a single-parent primary school teacher or a nurse with two children stands to lose £424 a year by 2015.  An army second lieutenant with three children could lose £552 a year.  If they are in private rented housing, or if prices rise faster than expected, the loss is likely to be even greater.

The government must make sure that increases in benefit rates at the very least reflect rises in cost of living. Otherwise this toll on Britain’s parents, workers, people seeking work, on our sick and disabled people, our homeless, and on our children, will deepen inequality and increase poverty. Not acceptable by anybody's standards.

Yours faithfully,


Matthew Reed,

Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Gillian Guy, 

Chief Executive, Citizens Advice


Anne Longfield OBE, 

Chief Executive, 4Children


Geraldine Blake, 

Chief Executive, Community Links

Srabani Sen, 

CEO, Contact a Family  

Anand Shukla, 

Chief Executive, The Family and Parenting Institute and Daycare Trust

Anne Marie Carrie, 

Chief Executive, Barnardo’s


Frances O’Grady, 

General Secretary, Trades Union Congress. 

John McDonald, 

Director, Family Holiday Association

Hilary Pannack, 

CEO, Straight Talking Peer Education

Diane Elson, 

Chair, Women’s Budget Group


Keith Reed, 

Chief Executive,Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba) 


Liz Sayce, 

Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK


Nicki Norman,

Deputy Chief Executive, Women’s Aid

Irene Audain,

Chief Executive, The Scottish Out of School Care Network

Chris Johnes, 

Director UK Poverty Programme, Oxfam

Fiona Weir, 

Chief Executive, Gingerbread

Enver Solomon, 

Chair, End Child Poverty

Rick Henderson, 

Chief Executive, Homeless Link

Steve Winyard, 

Head of Policy and Campaigns, RNIB

Stephen Fisher, 

 Chair of Trustees, RSI Action


Mark Atkinson, 

Director of Policy, Ambitious about Autism


Mark Serwotka, 

General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union

Helen Dent CBE, 

Chief Executive, Family Action


Niall Cooper, 

National Coordinator, Church Action on Poverty 


Yusef Azad,

Director of Policy and Campaigns, NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Dave Prentis,

General Secretary, UNISON