Tax credit and benefits cuts ‘will force 200,000 children into poverty’

Below inflation increases in tax credits and benefits will push 200,000 children into relative income poverty, according to a government answer to a parliamentary question.

The Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill will see benefits and tax credits rise by 1% over the next three years.

The Child Poverty Action Group says the addition of 200,000 children to the relative income measure will mean Coalition policies could increase child poverty by a million children by 2020.

It adds that the answer also reveals major downward revisions to the poverty-reducing impacts that had previously been claimed by Ministers for Universal Credit which will begin to be introduced later this year.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “The Government’s child poverty strategy is in utter disarray now that Minsters have admitted the poverty-producing Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill will push 200,000 more children into poverty. This means in total Coalition policies are set to push a million more children into poverty by 2020. The figures showing the impact on absolute poverty have not been published.

“Ministers seem to be in denial that, under current policies, their legacy threatens to be the worst poverty record of any government for a generation, despite their duties under the Child Poverty Act to reduce child poverty across a basket of measures including absolute, relative and persistent poverty as well as for deprivation levels which show how well families are able to meet basic costs.

“The bad news is compounded by new government figures showing the Universal Credit would not result in nearly as much poverty reduction as Minsters had previously claimed. It will now lift 150,000 children out of poverty not 350,000 as originally claimed.

“Short term spending cuts that create poverty will end up costing taxpayers billions in the future and inflict huge damage on children and our economy.”

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