Spring Budget 2017: Chancellor must do more to help financially vulnerable families
Turn2us urges the Chancellor to use Spring Budget to tackle issues facing vulnerable families as new data reveals rising child poverty.
With a steady rise in people seeking our help to pay for basic living costs, Turn2us is seeing how the lives of those in, and vulnerable to, poverty, are becoming increasingly difficult.
This is particularly the case for parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Turn2us was alarmed but not surprised by the recent Institute for Fiscal Studies report (Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2016–17 to 2021–22) which predicted that absolute child poverty will rise to 30.3% in 2021–22.
Help for family budgets
We are very worried about the rising rate of inflation and how it could leave many families with shrinking household budgets. Many are already making hard choices when they are shopping for food and other everyday essentials.
We would therefore like to see measures that help financially vulnerable families such as a rise in the income tax threshold and national living wage, while we would be concerned about any increase of V.A.T. and National Insurance.
Two Child Limit
We are also very concerned about the Two Child Limit that is being introduced from 6 April this year. The new rules will affect people who are pregnant now and the regulations have yet to be published.
Many parents seeking our help are not aware of the new policy and will not be prepared for it. We have similar concerns about the exceptions to the Two Child Limit. They are complicated and there is low awareness of them.
Separating couples especially need to be aware that moving to individual homes will trigger new benefit claims, which means they could then be subject to the new Two Child Limit even if they are not now. While the impact of this change on families with three or more children will not be immediate, because families with more than two children cannot make a new claim for Universal Credit until November 2018, it will affect them when they do eventually make a new claim for Universal Credit, for example if their Tax Credits end because they separate from their partner and Universal Credit has replaced Tax Credits in their area.
We would hope that the budget makes room for a delay in implementing this policy to address these issues.