Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
'Too many children are already being made to pay the price for government cuts. Yet measures in today’s Autumn Statement will pile even more pressure on families already struggling to make ends meet.
'Cuts already set to hit children and families next year include continued freezes in Child Benefit and Working Tax Credit and cuts to housing support and council tax. Today’s announcement of a below-inflation rise on most benefits, including those paid to poor working families, will directly punish children.
'It is intolerable that in 2012, parents across this country are unable to feed their children or heat their homes.
'The government has missed a crucial opportunity to take decisive steps to end child poverty. It must make sure that all poor children get a free school meal and extra childcare support for the most disadvantaged working families. This would make work pay for those most in need and end the destructive cycle of poverty.
'It is welcome that the government has recognised the need for certainty in uprating benefits. We look forward to seeing the details.'
For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors:
- 3.6 million children in the UK are living in poverty
- Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
- Major changes to the welfare system, including localisation of council tax benefit and the introduction of a benefit cap for out-of-work households are already planned to be introduced next year. Many of the changes will have a substantial impact on the support available for children and families.
- The Autumn Statement along with further announcements will be set in place for Universal Credit.
- While Universal Credit will improve work incentives and simplify the welfare system for many families, we are concerned about a number of key issues including support for disabled children and young carers and childcare support.
- 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.