The government are carrying out their plan to ‘shake up’ the welfare system. Parts of this plan include crunching child benefits for the third child in a family, as well as slashing benefits for bereaved families. The Conservative’s always seem to point their budget slashing fingers at the most vulnerable in our society. I completely agree with Debbie Abrahams that this is a new low for the government, and that Theresa May’s statement to focus on helping the ‘just about managing’ was clearly a lie.
Research predictions claim that the two-child restriction would inflate current child poverty figures by 10% at the end of parliament, and that it will lead to a knock on effect of having to spend an extra £270m a year in support costs in schools and services as a result of this increased poverty.
The government claims that their two-child policy will change the behaviour of poorer families, and act as a preventive. In theory this seems like a fair statement, but the government’s own impact assessment says that there is no evidence at all to suggest this! Alison Garnham who is the chief executive for Child Poverty Action Group has expressed a critical problem with the plan which is that life is unpredictable, stating that no parent has a crystal ball, and families that can comfortably support a third child today could struggle tomorrow and have to claim universal credit because, sadly, health, jobs and relationships can fail.
The loss of your spouse is devastating and stressful no matter what. The plan to reduce monthly payments for by approximately £30 a week, and dramatically decrease the time limit from until the youngest child leaves education, to a mere 18 months. These changes will add extreme amounts of stress to those who have suffered a loss, and assume that in this short space of time, life can resume as before.The guardian spoke to a man who says that if he dies on Wednesday instead of Thursday and beyond, then his family would be better off by tens of thousands, and this is unacceptable.
I urge the government to retract this decision, which is set to come into action on Thursday, and for them to see that no policy that results in pushing a quarter of a million children into poverty, and cause additional strain on bereaved families can ever be a good thing.