Rishi Sunak's Spring Statement aims to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis facing families, but do the Chancellor's plans fully reflect the enormity of the problem?
Rampant inflation is driving us towards a child poverty catastrophe, and the impact could devastate the lives of this generation of children.
Without further action, the Chancellor’s welcome investment in children and families at last year’s Spending Review, or today’s announcement of further support for vulnerable families through the Household Support Fund, will be completely undermined by the corrosive effects of poverty, that multiplies the demands on the resources of social services, schools and the NHS.
For those on the lowest incomes, who rely on a top-up from state benefits, the situation is impossible. Not only have they recently seen a clawback of £20 per week from Universal Credit, but their benefit payments lag far behind inflation – rising only by 3% as the cost of living jumps up to a thirty-year high of 6.2%.
Children growing up in deprivation are already far behind wealthier peers before they have started school and even further behind when they leave. Growing up poor means being more likely to have a range of physical and mental health problems, be excluded from school, and taken into care. As well as the human cost, this inequality costs the Treasury billions through greater additional spending on public services.
Last year, the National Children’s Bureau worked with 100’s of organisations from across the children’s sector, to highlight these issues through our #BuildBackChildhood campaign. Today, the need to prevent the destruction of living standards has never been so acute. And the case for investment in the early years, social care and health services, that babies children and young people rely on, has never been so urgent.”