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Impact of the Welfare Reform Bill on children

7 March 2012

As the Bill starts to complete its passage through parliament we consider the affect it will have on the UK's children.

With rumours circulating of MPs trying to dismiss child poverty targets that commit the Government to the historic target of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020, there are real worries about how the welfare reform will impact families and children. 

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)  warn today that changes to child benefit payments will leave many parents no choice but to cut back on vital necessities.  Families view child benefit as a valuable part of the family's income, to pay for bills and food as well as items such as school uniform, books and school trips.

From January 2013, couples with at least one parent earning more than £42,745 a year - the 40% tax rate threshold - will lose their child benefit payments. This means families could lose up to £3000 per year. Currently anyone responsible for a child up to the age of 16, or 18 if they remain in full time education, can claim Child Benefit. CPAG also state that the changes unfairly target families where one partner has decided not to return to work after starting a family.

On 31st January 2012  the UK's four Children's Commissioners published a joint statement voicing their concern of the negative impact of the proposals the Welfare Reform Bill will have on thousands of children in the UK. In the statement they urge the UK Government to reconsider their proposals surrounding benefit caps particularly as families receiving welfare benefits are already vulnerable so even a small change and in this case, drop, in income will have a profound effect on their welfare. It is feared that the loss in income will in turn mean more people are relying on local authorities who have also had their budgets chopped and so will really struggle to provide assistance.

These are just an example of welfare reform cuts that have been highlighted in recent days.

At Buttle UK our aim is to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in need. We run grant programmes that:

CPAG have produced a factsheet on the cuts and what they mean for families at risk of poverty.

You can also follow the progress of the Bill on the UK parliament website.

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