Reports warns of cuts impact on family poverty as unemployment rises

New parents and babies will bear the brunt of cuts to support for families, with the poorest families losing up to £1,735 of support for new babies and middle income families losing thousands in financial support for new children, says the Family Action charity.

New parents and babies will bear the brunt of cuts to support for families, with the poorest families losing up to £1,735 of support for new babies and middle income families losing thousands in financial support for new children, says the Family Action charity.

Its Born Broke report on the impact of welfare changes on parents with new children, which is published as the latest figures show unemployment rose to 2.5 million in the three months to November, warns more children risk being born into poverty as a result.

It says cuts to the health in pregnancy grant, changes to the Sure Start Maternity Grant, the abolition of the Child Trust Fund and the baby element of child tax credit, scrapping the toddler tax credit and changes to tax credits and childcare support for families returning to work after maternity and paternity leave "will all leave families reeling at a time when finances are tight".

Family Action works with 45,000 families and children a year providing practical, emotional and financial support through home-based family support and welfare grants including many new parents through its Perinatal Support Programme for mothers at risk of depression. Family Action Chief Executive Helen Dent said: “These forgotten families and their children will be counting the cost of austerity. Many parents will be hit hard by measures which will disadvantage new babies at birth. Vulnerable mothers will struggle to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy, low income families will find it tough to meet the needs of their newborn children and families returning to work will be stung by cuts to tax credits and childcare costs. We know from talking to the new parents who access our services how vital these funds are in giving families and their children the best possible start in life. Now they’ll be on the back foot from birth thanks to the Government’s policies. ”

Family Action says the Government cuts will "not be sufficiently offset by above inflation increases in the Child element of Child Tax Credit, and could be compounded by other benefit cuts such as the reforms of Local Housing Allowance, and freezing Child Benefit rates".

It adds that higher income working families with new children could lose many thousands more as a result of changes to income disregards for tax credits and reductions in the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.





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