Benefit Cuts Will Increase Child Poverty

A new report just released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that benefit cuts will increase child poverty, especially in the North East and in Wales.

Absolute child poverty would increase by 4%, and three-quarters of that would be linked to the freeze to most working-age benefits and limiting of tax credits and universal credits to two children. Using forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, combined with current benefit plans, the study shows child poverty will increase in each English region and nation of the UK.

Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesman, Stephen Lloyd MP, says

These figures from the respected IFS hammer home just how damaging this government’s welfare policies will be for millions of families. It is particularly heartbreaking to learn that child poverty will increase in every single part of the country, harming the future prospects of over half a million children.

Cruel and senseless Conservative policies, such as freezing working-age benefits while prices soar and slashing funding for Universal Credit just as it rolls out across the country, will worsen inequality by harming the living standards of the most vulnerable and reducing incentives to work. And as the authors of the study point out, the impact of these policies could be far worse if our economy takes a turn for the worse.

The Liberal Democrats are the only major party committed to reversing the worst of the Conservatives’ welfare reforms, including the benefits freeze, the two-child limit and the deep cuts to Universal Credit. During the last election, analysis from the IFS itself showed our welfare plans to be the most progressive.

I am therefore calling on this Government to listen to the weight of the evidence and immediately change course, using this Autumn’s Budget as an opportunity to support the most vulnerable in our society.

Intergenerational inequality is increasing, the gap between rich and poor widening. Remember Make Poverty History?  It’s not happening. Liberal Democrat policy needs to lead the way in truly making all poverty history.


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  • David Becket 2nd Nov '17 - 8:09am

    Making poverty history would be a good strap line.

  • And not voting for benefit cuts when in Coalition would have been an even better strap line.

    Unfortunately the general public suffer rather less from amnesia than certain Lib Dems do.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Nov '17 - 1:18pm

    In replying to a positive approach from Stephen Lloyd and Kirstin, we get the two Davids, not Owen , Steel, but Becket , Raw.

    I understand both reactions and as ever share a mixture of them.

    Positive about our party and what it stands for, the reverse about where it has been and is

    A very big challenge.

    To those who criticise , even here, what is the solution for this party , not in general , let us have it issue by issue.

    Davids both, what do we do to express what we believe that can really cut through on poverty.

  • @ Lorenzo You ask a very big question and I wish I knew the answer. The party starts from an almost impossible situation. It is no longer trusted or respected from sections of society who used to believe in it.

    Evidence ? I refer you to a seat in the Borders I know well, held by Liberals (first by David Steel) for over fifty years. We moved from 22,230 votes (45.4%) in 2010 to 10,295 (18.5%) in 2015 and to 2,482 (4.7%) in 2017. What changed between 2010 and 2015 ? All the 1%, 2% and 3% paper Council votes also send a message.

    As in a broken marriage, once trust and respect go it’s climb a mountain time. Time alone won’t heal. All I can think of is a massive apology and honesty from Sir Vincent for the years 2010-15. “We got it wrong” would be refreshing from a politician.

    Only then might people begin to listen again when we talk about poverty. If Sir Vincent (and the party) don’t do that – and there’s not much sign they will – then I’m afraid nobody’s listening. After over fifty years as an activist I will find my garden, my books, my football team and activity with my local Foodbank more compelling and productive.

  • David Becket 2nd Nov '17 - 2:10pm

    @ Lorenzo
    Tackling Poverty, the list is endless and some of the issues are controversial or will need careful implementation, some of the actions include;

    Low Hanging Fruit
    Halting the roll out of Universal Credit until all issues are sorted
    Replacing the Tory Cuts to the Universal Credit budget

    A little bit further up the tree
    Build more Social Housing and stop Right to Buy
    Raise the NI tax threshold to the same level as Income Tax, with an increase in cut off at the top end
    Strictly enforce the minimum wage
    Control Zero Hours Contracts

    And a bit further
    Reformed taxation on wealth, making organisations pay their fair share of tax,. Taxing overseas investment in empty properties, getting tough on tax avoidance.

    Some of the revenue from these activities to go towards skills training, which creates better jobs and will improve productivity, and expanding free nursery provision. (These are two of the issues that keep people down)

    Review Property Taxation, possibly through LVT.

    Look at Company Culture, including ratio between lowest and highest paid.

    I could go on. Much of this, and more, has been debated at conference, some has reached party policy and some issues raised in recent speeches from Vince

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Nov ’17 – 1:18pm……………..To those who criticise , even here, what is the solution for this party , not in general , let us have it issue by issue………

    ‘Issue by Issue’>…. NHS reorganisation, Benefit cuts, Tuition fees, Secret Courts, Bedroom Tax, etc.; the ‘issue by issue’ situation doesn’t look too good..
    Like Marley’s ghost, the chains that drag us down were forged, link by link, by our party…

  • If you want to make poverty history then focus on creating an economy which creates well paid secure jobs for those who want them. Lib Dems should be formulating policies to achieve this.

  • David Becket 2nd Nov '17 - 7:19pm

    I could do an issue by issue on things we got right in coalition, but this going backwards achieves nothing. The country is in a bigger mess than it ever was when we were in coalition. Let us learn from our mistakes and look forward with a programme to get out of the mess the Tories have driven us into.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Nov '17 - 8:40pm

    Very good responses from David Raw and Becket , appreciated, and the added commentary from expats.

    I am perhaps unsurprisingly as seeking agreement in the party is my preferred thing on the whole, sympathetic to these actually different reactions to my question.

    David Raw

    I think your view on the dreadful situation electorally is one I despair on too. Like you , and for me as a once upon a time very long ago , ex Labour man, well , a good bit over a decade ago, after Iraq sent me in this direction, I sometimes crave an alliance with Labour. This could moderate them and radicalise our country. But there is little chance of it in the way the countries that do it pre elections do, as we have no history of it.Perhaps if we had more exciting or younger leaders too, or if Tim had cut through more, I do not know. I do know we need to in my view emerge as different when we are , and that means we must also criticise Corbyn at times, whether you agree with that or not, but not in a silly way , but on substance.

    David Becket

    You are a really good example of a balanced critic of the coalition as you have moved on. You are correct , too, the list of achievements is possibly longer than some think , but who cares now , is a very likely reaction.


    We need to look forward more than back. What we can achieve therefore is more of what we tried in government, making a difference, but as a party that has learned it cannot be a poodle to any dog walker. Not ever.

  • David Becket 2nd Nov ’17 – 7:19pm……………….I could do an issue by issue on things we got right in coalition, but this going backwards achieves nothing. The country is in a bigger mess than it ever was when we were in coalition. Let us learn from our mistakes and look forward with a programme to get out of the mess the Tories have driven us into………..

    To learn from mistakes one must first accept them…Starting your post with, ‘things we got right’, seems to show rather the opposite…

  • Sue Sutherland 3rd Nov '17 - 9:58am

    David Raw and Expats. How I wish that we hadn’t signed up to measures that increased poverty during Coalition, but we did. So what are those of us who care about these issues to do? Should we keep quiet or should we try to restore our party to the radical left of centre position it once held? I’d rather do what little I can to fight for the vulnerable because it’s a battle that has to be won, rather than be dragged down into a political slough of despond.
    Also, we had some amazing results last night so there might be a little rustle of hope in the grass roots.

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