23 Nov 2016

Responding to the Autumn Statement, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'There’s been plenty of talk of helping the just-about-managing families – the JAMs – but sadly the Chancellor’s cake is half-baked.

'Unlike last year’s Budget, he hasn’t introduced major new cuts for low-income families, but that won’t offer much comfort to millions for whom today’s announcements will have a very soggy bottom.

'Of course the £600m provided to undo a proportion of cuts to Universal Credit will help, although the lowest-income working families receiving the benefit will gain the least. So will increases to the minimum wage. But these improvements are measly morsels next to the nearly £11bn of ongoing cuts announced last year which will cut support for struggling families in 2020.

'The rising cost of living will turn the four-year benefits freeze into a major income cut by 2020. Cutting off child tax credit for families who have a third child and further reductions to family support under Universal Credit risk turning just-about-managing families into just-not-managing families. At this rate, despite the Chancellor’s tweaking, many low income families are going to be much worse off by the end of the decade.

'The Government is at least acknowledging that cuts to essential support for the most vulnerable families are not cost-free. But it must go much further – by scrapping the benefits freeze and the two-child cap, and restoring the family element of Tax Credits and original work allowances to Universal Credit – if its promise to help the JAMs is going to stick.'

Notes to Editor

The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.

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