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.
Chief Executive, The Children’s Society
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
Anne Longfield OBE,
Chief Executive, 4Children
Chief Executive, Community Links
CEO, Contact a Family
Chief Executive, The Family and Parenting Institute and Daycare Trust
Anne Marie Carrie,
Chief Executive, Barnardo’s
General Secretary, Trades Union Congress.
Director, Family Holiday Association
CEO, Straight Talking Peer Education
Chair, Women’s Budget Group
Chief Executive,Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba)
Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
Deputy Chief Executive, Women’s Aid
Chief Executive, The Scottish Out of School Care Network
Director UK Poverty Programme, Oxfam
Chief Executive, Gingerbread
Chair, End Child Poverty
Chief Executive, Homeless Link
Head of Policy and Campaigns, RNIB
Chair of Trustees, RSI Action
Director of Policy, Ambitious about Autism
General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Helen Dent CBE,
Chief Executive, Family Action
National Coordinator, Church Action on Poverty
Director of Policy and Campaigns, NAT (National AIDS Trust)
General Secretary, UNISON