Regional child poverty campaigners have today renewed calls for social security to keep pace with inflation after new Department for Work & Pensions figures confirm the number of children and young people across the North East facing an imminent cut to their family budgets.
In April 2022, social security support is due to rise by 3.1% (the inflation rate as it stood in September 2021), however, inflation is currently projected to hit around 7% by April.
This means that families across the region are facing a major real terms cut to their budgets if the government doesn’t take urgent action, and – for those in receipt of Universal Credit – this will be the second cut to their income in less than a year after the loss of £20 a week in October.
Analysis by North East Child Poverty Commission
North East Child Poverty Commission analysis of new data published by the government today confirms that 171,850 babies, children and young people across the North East were living in families supported by Universal Credit in November 2021 (the latest available figures). This is an increase of over 21,000 on the year before.
Earlier this month, the North East Child Poverty Commission joined forces with over 30 organisations across the country calling for social security support to keep pace with inflation, emphasising that ‘we are all feeling the pinch but the soaring costs of essentials will hurt low income families, whose budgets are already at breaking point, most.’
Amanda Bailey, Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said:
“Families across the North East are facing a toxic combination of soaring living costs and an imminent increase to National Insurance – all combined with a real-terms cut to their income if the Government doesn’t act now to ensure social security keeps pace with inflation.
“And this comes after two years of a pandemic which has had a devastating impact on the financial circumstances of so many, but particularly those already on the lowest incomes.
“Whilst the government is committed to raising living standards in the long-term, it cannot be right that over 170,000 babies, children and young people across our region are facing yet another cut to their family budgets – leaving increasing numbers of parents and carers facing absolutely impossible decisions about what more, if anything, they can cut back on.
“The sticking-plaster, piecemeal measures announced by the government so far simply don’t meet the scale of the challenge in front of us. We need action now through investment in a stronger social security system, as the most effective and dignified way of targeting support at those who need it.”