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JRF responds to the Queen's Speech

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, reponded to the Queen’ Speech.:

"Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech highlighted the Government’s eagerness to increase productivity and boost living standards. But it won't bring costs to taxpayers down unless there is real progress on providing more homes for rent, decent jobs which ensure that work pays and tackling stagnant productivity. Without this, the Government runs the risk of causing poverty, living costs and public expenditure to rise.”

Employment

“The creation of new jobs and apprenticeships are good news, but too many people are finding that wages from low-paid, insecure or part time work aren’t enough to cover a decent standard of living. Two thirds of people who move into work from unemployment are paid below the living wage, and only one in five low-paid employees had been able to move into higher paying work within 10 years. To make work pay, the Government must boost productivity and increase the number of higher-paid jobs. This will allow people to progress, reduce the tax credits bill and put more money in people’s pockets.”

Welfare

“A benefits freeze could push households who are now just managing to make ends meet into crisis. Plans to cut the benefit cap and restrict housing benefits for young people have a negligible effect on the welfare bill. The only way to make sustainable, long-term and high-value reductions in the benefits bill is to tackle the underlying drivers of poverty, like low wages, high housing costs and stagnant productivity.”

Affordable rented homes

“Extending the Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants may help some low-income households to take a step onto the housing ladder.  However, research has shown we must build 80,000 more affordable homes each year to meet demand. Failure to do this will mean that more people are pushed into poverty by rising rents and will make the housing benefit bill rise.”

Childcare

“Measures to double the amount of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds will help to make work pay for many families. But this must be matched by improvements in access to quality childcare if it is going to help overcome the disadvantage experienced by some young children.” 

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