Our response to the prime minister's speech on welfare proposals

25 June 2012

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society said:

'Children are the hidden victims of the government’s massive reductions in benefit support.

'Financial help through the benefit system provides a vital lifeline for hundreds of thousands of children. Taking this away in yet further cuts to welfare would be a complete disaster for so many children up and down the country.

'The prime minister has set out "the first principle" that this country’s welfare system is there to provide a genuine safety net to those who need it. Every child must have the right to a basic level of support – no matter what family circumstance they are born into.

'Further cuts would force even more vulnerable children into greater difficulties, removing the very safety net the prime minister describes.

'The government has already cut a substantial £18 billion from the welfare bill that will disproportionately hit children and vulnerable families. Disabled children are set to lose up to £1400 per year in vital support and families with children who care for a disabled parent will be considerably worse off facing a cut of up to £3500 per year. The out of work benefit cap will also push more than 200,000 children into greater hardship with thousands potentially being forced out of their homes.

'We welcome the prime minister's assurances that housing benefit will not be taken away from young people leaving the care system. But there are significant numbers of under-25s who simply won't have the option of staying with friends or family. Many young people could be forced into homelessness.'

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email beth.herzfeld@childrenssociety.org.uk.  For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

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.