Response to work and pensions secretary speech on child poverty:
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
'Millions of children up and down this country are living in poverty because their families do not have enough money to live on, access to decent housing or affordable childcare.
'Let’s separate fact from fiction. The vast majority of families in poverty are struggling because they can’t afford the basics - not because they are wasting cash on drink and drugs.
'Most of these children are in low-income working families. We know from our extensive work with families that parents are doing their very best. Every day they are making harsh choices between heating their home, buying school shoes or putting a hot meal on the table. Stereotyping children and families struggling to make ends meet is not the answer.
'Cuts to housing benefit, council tax benefit and other key support – together with proposals to cap benefit increases for the next three years –will plunge even more families into poverty. The government needs to take immediate action to end child poverty once and for all.'
For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email email@example.com. 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.
• The government has admited that its welfare benefits up-rating cap will push 200,000 children into poverty
• Use our child poverty calculator to see impact of benefit uprating cap on children
• 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 this year. Many of the changes will have a substantial impact on the support available for children and families.
• 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.