Report Launch: What Price Safe Motherhood? Free Event

Maternity Action 18 September 2018.
Latest Materinty Action's latest research, "What Price Safe Motherhood? NHS Charging for Maternity Care in England and its Impact on Migrant Women”, will be launched at a free event. Booking and more details here.

What the Department for Work and Pensions needs to learn about universal credit: Write to your MP.

Child Poverty Action Group 18 July 2018
4in10 member CPAG set up the Early Warning System to help get a better understanding of how changes to the benefit system such as the introduction of universal credit, the benefit cap and the two child limit will affect the lives of children and their families. The latest Early Warning System report pulls together the most common problems. CPAG are asking you to write to your MP to make sure MPs are aware of all these issues.  

School holiday hunger cash a 'great first step' 

Edith Burns, BBC, 27 July 2018
A new £2m government fund for food and fun for poorer children over the summer has been hailed as a great first step to solving school holiday hunger. But charities warn that, with an estimated three million UK children at risk of going hungry over the summer break, there is far more to be done.
The government estimates that the £2m will provide healthy meals and activities throughout the summer to about 30,000 under-18s in some of England's most disadvantaged areas. More.

Teachers report increase in holiday hunger 

National Education Union, 1 August 2018
A snapshot survey of 657 secondary teachers by the National Education Union shows the growing concern amongst teachers that young people are not getting enough food to eat over the summer holidays.
Teachers said they thought holiday hunger is affecting more children now than 3 years ago and there was a strong concern that local initiatives designed to tackle it – including food banks – are not equipped to meet demand. More 

Universal credit IT system 'broken', whistleblowers say

Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 22 July 2018
Universal credit is so riddled with design flaws and process faults that it is practically guaranteed to generate mistakes and delays that would push vulnerable benefit claimants into hardship, according to whistleblowers. Mistakes and delays can add on average an extra three weeks to the formal 35-day wait for an initial benefit payment, pushing claimants into debt, rent arrears, and reliance on food banks. More.  

Over half of homeless families in England are in work

Shelter, 23 July 2018
55% of homeless families trapped in temporary accommodation are actually working, according to new research released by Shelter’s social housing commission.
Based on freedom of information requests, the exclusive analysis shows that more than 33,000 families are holding down a job, despite having nowhere stable to live. This has increased by 73% since 2013, when it was 19,000 families.
This trend in ‘working homelessness’ is being driven by a combination of expensive private rents, the ongoing freeze on housing benefit, and a chronic lack of social homes. More.

Child poverty rose last year as incomes for the poorest third of families fell 

Resolution Foundation 24 July 2018
The Resolution Foundation’s latest annual Living Standards Audit  shows last year’s increase in child poverty reflects a broader trend since 2011, with government data showing that the proportion of children in poverty has grown by 11 per cent over this period. This has been driven by a longer term rise in children living in poor working families, up from 30 to 39 per cent since 2003-4. More.

Latest figures demonstrate 'fundamental unfairness' of benefit cap says CIH  

Chartered Institute of Housing, 2 August 2018
Responding to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions on the number of households affected by the benefit cap to May 2018, Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said:
"Today’s figures demonstrate just how fundamentally unfair the cap is – it is disproportionately punishing people who will find it most difficult to escape by finding work. Seven out of 10 households who had their housing benefit capped are single-parent families, and more than three quarters of those have a child under five. Another 15 per cent are receiving employment and support allowance, meaning that they are not currently fit for work. More

End Hunger UK launch new report and national petition

End Hunger UK July 2018
Research from End Hunger UK has found that in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out, foodbanks and other food aid providers report a surge in the numbers of people pushed into greater debt, destitution and hunger as a result of delays, errors, a lack of flexibility and adequate support. More.
They  have launched a national petition calling on Government to 'fix Universal Credit' to prevent more people going hungry. More.

Concern over delay in reversing ‘deeply flawed policy’

24 Housing, 1 August 2018 
Centrepoint, a charity that works with young homeless people, has issued a strongly worded statement as parliament has done nothing to reverse the removal of automatic eligibility of 18-21 year olds for housing benefit. Back in March, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said young claimants would get their ‘housing benefit’ back. Paul Noblet, head of Public Affairs at Centrepoint, said: “In March the Government announced a welcome change of heart but there has been no sign of action in Parliament to actually change this deeply flawed policy. More

Government to reinstate legal aid for separated and unaccompanied children

The children's Society,12 July 2018 
A five year legal battle and campaign has resulted in a Government statement confirming that they will bring legal aid back into scope for separated and unaccompanied children in their immigration cases. A Children's Society research report  ‘Cut Off From Justice’ estimates that thousands of vulnerable children have been denied legal aid since new legislation came into force in 2013. More

Food poverty is a Human Rights issue 

Imogen Richmond-Bishop, Rights Info, 18 June 2018
Is there a right to food? According to the UN, about 8.4 million people are currently suffering from food insecurity in the UK. Our right to food is protected by a number of international standards, including Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. More.

A Minimum Income Standard for the UK 2008-2018: continuity and change  

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2 July 2018
Latest Minimum Income Standard research (based on what the public think we all need for a decent minimum living standard) reveals how low-income families need a third more disposable income than a decade ago to make ends meet and are facing bigger barriers to meet rising costs - despite tightening their belts and shopping around online for better deals and tariffs. More

Change it!

Children's Rights Alliance England, 13 June 2018
Thousands of homeless children are growing up in filthy, unsafe, overcrowded accommodation that breaches their basic human rights. Change it! new research with homeless children and young people has revealed a disturbing picture of the impact that being housed illegally in unsuitable and unsafe B&Bs is having on their lives.  Children spoke about being housed in cramped, dirty and unsafe conditions, miles away from school, friends and family. More.

Universal Credit and Financial Abuse 

Women's Budget Group, 19 June 2018
As Universal Credit continues to roll out nationally, the Women’s Budget Group, End Violence Against Women Coalition and Surviving Economic Abuse have published a new report which raises concerns that Universal Credit payments which are paid into one bank account for everyone in the household, risk giving more power to abusers. The assumption that benefit paid to one account will be shared ignores evidence about financial abuse. Research shows different forms of money management can be practised within households, from pooling all income to one giving the other an allowance. Women often go without basic essentials themselves, especially where there are children, under male-controlled money management. More.

Nowhere to Turn 

Women's Aid 26 June 2018
New Survivors of domestic abuse are being repeatedly turned away from refuges because they do not meet the criteria to fund their space. This report shows that there is a systemic failure by statutory agencies when it comes to responding to the needs of the most vulnerable survivors of domestic abuse. While chronic underfunding is increasing pressure on already overstretched refuge providers, leading to a crisis in refuge provision for the women who most desperately need support. More.

FareShare launches nationwide campaign to fight hunger among schoolchildren over summer holiday

FareShare June 2018
FareShare, a charity which fights hunger and food waste, has launched ActiveAte, a nationwide holiday hunger campaign providing meals for children at risk of food poverty this summer. Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive, FareShare said: "without the food provided by school breakfast and lunch clubs, many families face a period of struggle with children at risk of hunger, isolation and inactivity.” ActiveAte will see FareShare work with over 200 community groups across the UK to provide balanced, nutritious meals for up to 20,000 children and families in the UK. More.

Making Childcare Work:
Fixing upfront childcare costs for families on Universal Credit 

Save The Children 21 June 2018
This latest briefing from the Save the Children Make Childcare Work campaign focuses on the upfront childcare costs which parents on universal credit must pay. Disadvantaged families must front the cost of their childcare bill and then claim it back through Universal Credit. This includes the costs of deposits and registration fees which most nurseries require before a child starts nursery. Families living in poverty do not have the money to cover these costs, even if they are later reimbursed. The system therefore prevents them from entering work or leaves them at risk of falling into debt. More.

Teachers stepping in to help primary pupils with hygiene poverty 

In Kind Direct 19 June 2018
Half of British primary school teachers are having to provide pupils with essential items like soap, washing powder and shampoo on a weekly basis because of family hygiene poverty issues, according to a new, independent study commissioned by UK charity, In Kind Direct. Eight in ten primary school teachers say that, worryingly, they’ve seen a rise in the numbers of children coming to school unwashed or not looking presentable in the last five years and have found themselves intervening at an increasing rate. More

Supporting headteachers to combat child poverty

School Home Support, 18 May 2018
4in10 member School Home Support has been featured in a Guardian article, outlining how schools are supporting families in poverty.
Headmistress  Lorna Jackson’s school, is in a deprived area of east London. As well as suffering homelessness, her pupils are regularly victims of domestic violence. “I realised that my role had changed. Unless I addressed our children’s wellbeing, their education was not going to have impact at all.” More.

It's Time To End The Debt Trap Ensnaring Britain's Poorest

Hanna Wheatley, Researcher at New Economics Foundation 4 June 2018
UK households currently owe around £239 million in unsecured consumer credit and the Centre for Responsible Credit estimates that 7.6 million people are spending more than one quarter of their income on debt payments, not including mortgages or accommodation costs. More

Five generations 'before poor reach average pay'

BBC News 15 June 2018 
Social mobility is so frozen that it would take five generations for a poorer family in the UK to reach the average income, an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report says. 
Sir Peter Lampl of the Sutton Trust social mobility charity, said: "These depressing new findings should be a wake-up call." He blamed the UK's poor social mobility on "rising wage inequality and the relationship between family income and educational attainment". More

Rough sleeping and homelessness 

London Intelligence, 9 May 2018
Latest figues show that over 54,000 households (nearly 15 in every 1,000 London households) were being housed in temporary accommodation by their council at the end of 2017. A further 1,600 had a duty owed to them but with nothing secured, which is over 70 per cent higher than the same point last year and the highest point on record by a significant margin, reflecting difficulties in finding appropriate temporary accommodation. Research suggests the main cause of statutory homelessness is termination of private rental contracts. More

Housing and life experiences: making a home on a low income 

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 30 April 2018
This report provides a detailed analysis of the interaction between poverty and housing across the lifecourse. It shows how good and stable housing can mitigate poverty, and the difficulties in trying to make and sustain a home in an increasingly expensive and constrained housing system. More.  

Most DWP Frontline Staff 'Say Universal Credit Should Be Scrapped'

Huffington Post, 7 May 2018
An investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches, reveals some 70% of DWP staff say the roll out of Universal Credit should be stopped. Universal Credit has been beset by problems in its roll out amid claims it has led to a surge in foodbank use and poverty. The programme shown on 7 May,  found claimants are still unable to meet basic costs while waiting for their initial payments, resulting in thousands of claimants losing 40% of their benefit to pay back DWP debts. More.

Child poverty in working households up by 1 million children since 2010, says TUC   

TUC 7 May 2018
The number of children growing up in poverty in working households is set to be 1 million (+50%) higher this year than in 2010, according to new TUC research.
The analysis shows that 600,000 children (with working parents) have been pushed into poverty as a result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts and public sector pay restrictions. More.  

Trussell Trust figures show rise in food bank use and failure of Universal Credit to support vulnerable families  

Trussell Trust 24 April 2018
Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64%. More.
The release of the figures is accompanied by the publication of Left Behind: Is Universal Credit Truly Universal?, a new report into Universal Credit and foodbank use.  

May 2018

London goes to the polls on Thursday, new research conducted by Survation for 4in10 reveals huge desire for new administrations to tackle poverty

  • Parties should not take voters for granted, with one in 10 voters telling Survation they are currently undecided on which party to vote for,
  • 61% of Londoners say they would be more likely to vote for a party that made a commitment to improving the lives of the poorest children
  • 81% think local councils should pay all their staff the Real London Living Wage 
  • 65% wanting their new Council Leader to make a strong commitment on the issue

See full release here

April 2018

May 3rd 2018, London Local Council Elections 

As part of the London Child Poverty Alliance we have created this manifesto for Local Authorities, we are promoting it with candidates across the capital right now. If you or your organisation is interested in registering voters and campaigning with us to make changes in your local area, please get in touch with Raquel Jesse:

Government U-turn on housing benefit welcomed

BBC News 29 March 2018

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has announced the reversal of a 2014 policy which prevented people under the age of 21 automatically getting housing benefit. It was estimated that 10,000 young people would have been affected. More.

Schools and education staff are increasingly providing the services and essentials of daily life to stop families falling through the cracks

National Education Union, 2 April 2018

A snapshot survey of members of the National Education Union (NEU) reveals the extent to which poverty is damaging the educational opportunities for children from poor families.
A staggering 87% of respondents say that poverty is having a significant impact on the learning of their pupils and students and 60% believe that the situation has worsened since 2015. 
The joint survey by the NEU and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) also reveals the extent to which schools are stepping in to fill the gaps left by the cuts to statutory services and voluntary and community organisations. More.

Households below average income figures show rise in in work poverty

Office for National Statistics, 22 March 2018

Reductions in benefits and tax credits since 2015 mean that many more working households are falling into poverty. Two thirds of children in poverty are in working households. Almost half of children in lone parent families are now in poverty. The figures cover the year 2016 -2017 and so with further cuts in benefits to come, more families will be pushed into poverty.  More.

Doubts over Homelessness Act within days of implementation

Housing 24, 4 April 2018

Within days of the Homelessness Act coming into law, doubts about any real difference it can make dominate debate over its future. Government has set aside £72 million for English councils over three years until 2020, but campaigners say this is too little to deal with the likely surge in cases as welfare ‘reform’ rolls out. Martin Tett, the housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils coping with homeless children alone were having to house the equivalent of an average secondary school every month. More.

TUC finds that 1 in 7 children of public sector workers will be in poverty by the end of this financial year 

TUC February 2018

1 in 7 children (550,000) with a parent working in the public sector will be living in poverty by the end of this financial year, according to new TUC analysis. The research shows that since 2010 an extra 150,000 children have been pushed below the breadline as a result of the government’s public sector pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts. More.