Campaigners have blasted George Osborne’s declaration that public spending cuts will have “no measurable impact” on child poverty.
Delivering today’s comprehensive spending review, Osborne outlined several changes including: increasing the working hours requirement so that couples with children must work 24 hours between them and a freeze in the basic and 30-hour elements of the working tax credit for three years from 2011-12.
Osborne also announced that the government would reduce the payable costs through the childcare element of the working tax credit from 80% to 70% in April 2011 and would remove child benefit from families with a higher rate taxpayer from January 2013.
He said the government would use some of the savings from withdrawing child benefit from families with a higher rate taxpayer to “fund significant above indexation increases in the child tax credit”.
“This is better targeted on low income families, worth £30 in 2011-12 and £50 in 2012-13, and will ensure the Spending Review will have no measurable impact on child poverty in the next two years,” Osborne said.
But a spokesperson for the End Child Poverty coalition rejected Osborne’s claims and said the changes, including the freezing of working tax credit and the lowering of the child care element of the working tax credit, were “very worrying indeed for low income families”.
“We cannot accept at face value the chancellor’s claims that there will be no impact,” he said, pointing out that plans to increase the child element of child tax credit, to £30 in 2011 to 2012 and £50 in 2012 to 2013 would only amount to 77 pence a week extra by the second year.
Osborne said the government remained committed to ending child poverty and announced its longer term strategy for tackling child poverty will be set out by the end of March 2011. This will take account of the Frank Field review on child poverty, due to conclude at the end of this year.
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