Ellen Broome, Director of Policy at The Children’s Society, said:
'This important report from the National Audit Office raises serious concerns for the future of Universal Credit. Half of all children in the UK – nearly 7 million – will be in families on the new benefit system in the future.
'It is critical that, before further steps are taken, proper testing is carried out on how it will work for them. Failure to do this will mean that any problems or harmful effects it might have on children will not be picked up before it comes into effect across the country.
'The government still has key decisions to make on Universal Credit, including on the future of free school meals. It is vital that, for the new benefit system to be effective in making work pay for low-income working families, this key support is made available to all families in poverty. The government must not waste this once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify the benefit system and help lift children out of poverty.'
For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357, firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors:
- Chris Grayling when Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions, stated 6.7 million children would be in households entitled to Universal Credit.
- 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty.
- Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
- 1.2 million children living in poverty miss out on a free school meal – 700,000 of these children aren’t even entitled to one despite their need because their parents work.
- 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.