Save the Children urges Ed Balls to introduce seasonal grants to cut child poverty

Save the Children yesterday called for the government to introduce seasonal grants for poorer households to tackle child poverty after publishing a survey showing families would find them more helpful than increased weekly payments.

The charity met Treasury minister Ed Balls to make the case for giving poorer families lump sums at particularly expensive times of year as a means of helping the government deliver its target of halving child poverty, from its 1999 rate, by 2010.

The survey found 71% of parents felt two payments a year would be more helpful than a new, equivalent weekly benefit, with reasons cited including paying for expensive one-off items and helping them to save.

The call comes after government figures showed child poverty had increased from 2005-6 and expert body the Institute for Fiscal Studies said a further £4bn would need to be invested in tax credits and benefits to give ministers a 50:50 chance of meeting the 2010 target.

Save the Children spokesperson Claire Walker said: “Listening to poor families has to be a part of solving the problem of child poverty. The government urgently needs to start coming up with positive solutions: otherwise they will miss their target by miles.”

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