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Children must not be forgotten in the government’s winter plan
With more places entering tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions, the Chancellor has announced extra support for jobs and businesses. It’s a step forward, but there are big holes in the government's plan.
The job support scheme will still leave workers with significantly less income than their usual wage. In some cases, people will lose up to a third of their income.
Many people won’t receive support from the scheme at all. Some because they don’t meet the qualification rules. And other because the measures are not enough to stop their job disappearing.
The combination of income loss and growing unemployment is set to cause a surge in child poverty this winter. And so far, there has been very little support targeted to children to prevent it.
The TUC and IPPR yesterday published a joint report that sets out the additional measures needed to protect children.
We are proposing that there should be a major boost to direct support for children, through increases to either child benefit, or the child element of universal credit.
This will give families with income loss, or job loss, vital cash for heating bills, rent, and warm winter clothes for the kids. And it will mean fewer families forced to rely on foodbanks.
As well as protecting families and preventing child poverty, this support will also provide vital support for the economy. If families suffer a major loss of income, then local businesses will suffer too. This could cause a vicious cycle that sees our economy spiralling down.
It is essential that the government prevents this downward spiral setting in. Otherwise the long term cost to the nation, and to the public purse, will be far higher than the cost of the emergency support that should be put in place now.
The extra cash in family pockets will support spending power across the economy. This will protect businesses too. And that will help keep more people in work, who will have more to send from their wages – a virtuous cycle, instead of a vicious cycle.
Our report also calls for additional support childcare services. They have been very hard hit by the consequences of the pandemic. And the sector is in danger of losing out on a vary large amount of its usual income.
Without additional support, childcare providers will be forced to close.
When a childcare provider goes out of business, the knock-on effects are dreadful for working parents, employers and the economy. Without childcare, many parents would have to reduce their hours, or may not be able to work at all. And that will hold back our economic recovery.
We need government to recognise that the long-term cost of a collapse in childcare supply will be much greater than stepping in to protect it now, before it’s too late.
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