Risk generosity, not hunger

Now is not the time to choose between this layer of support or that layer of support. Now is the time to make sure children have the safety net they need.

If ever we needed a safety net to ensure no child in the UK goes hungry, now is that time. Families must be able to feed their families without losing their dignity and that means proper social security as well as extra support in the holidays.

This means keeping the £20 uplift on Universal Credit. This is currently a temporary measure but it must be made permanent.

It means increasing child benefit by £10 per child per week to make sure every family has more resources to look after their children.

It means recognising the crippling cost of housing by uprating housing assistance in line with inflation.

It means ending the punitive benefit cap and the two-child limit on benefits.

It means extending free school meals during the holidays and widening access to all children whose families are in receipt of Universal Credit or have No Recourse to Public Funds.

It means wider reform to ensure social security provides the safety net it is supposed to deliver.

Providing extra resources for local authorities is an important strand of support, so they can be there for children most in need as well as preventing crises from emerging. However, their support services were already stripped to the bone before the pandemic stretched them still further. Ensuring those resources actually lead to food at the moment a family needs it is no small task at a time like this.

Now is not the time to choose between this layer of support or that layer of support. Now is the time to make sure children have the safety net they need.

If a single child in the UK goes hungry, or if their parents have to go without food in order to feed them, then we have failed as a society. It is far better that we risk generosity by providing too much support than risk children going hungry by not providing enough.

Anna Feuchtwang
Chief Executive, NCB.

Anna chairs the End Child Poverty Coalition of organisations united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty.