Families plunged even deeper into poverty by the Covid 19 crisis are in desperate need of a rise in child benefits, charities right across the UK have said in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Campaigners from major anti-poverty and children’s organisations plus academics, unions and faith leaders are demanding a £10 per week uplift in child benefit for families during this public health emergency.
Yesterday’s planned annual uprating of child benefit added 35p in value for an eldest or only child – taking it to £21.05 per week – and just 23p extra for additional kids, adding up to £13.93 a week. Nearly 13 million UK children receive the benefit, and a £10 uplift would require the government to remove the current benefit cap to make sure the boost could reach every family.
We’re nearly 70 orgs and individuals calling for more support for families. Though we welcome steps taken so far to protect incomes during the #coronavirus, we're convinced more is needed to meet children's needs, and ease financial pressures families are facing. 1/2
— Child Poverty Action Group (@CPAGUK) April 7, 2020
The emergency support is urgently needed to make sure all parents “can cover the basic costs of raising their children in the face of reduced income and before the new income protection measures can take effect”, signatories from groups including Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo’s, Women’s Aid and the Trussell Trust said.
Campaigners said the government help offered to prop up household incomes so far is welcome, but that more needs to be done immediately if low-income families are to stay afloat while covering the extra costs of school closures.