Gareth Jenkins of Save the Children UK finds little to be optimistic about in George Osborne’s ‘neutral’ budget.
Yesterday, Save the Children looked to the Chancellor to deliver an action plan in the budget to tackle severe child poverty. He failed to do so, letting down 1.6 million children who are growing up in deep deprivation.
With the majority of children in severe poverty living in households where no adult works, getting unemployed parents into work has to be a priority.
We were particularly disappointed that the Chancellor made no move to reverse his decision to reduce support for childcare costs for low income families (cutting the childcare element of working tax credit). Help with affordable childcare is essential if parents are to be able to take up work.
On jobs, we welcome the announcement of new enterprise zones. However, we need to know that business growth is going to be stimulated in areas with the highest rates of unemployment, and that new jobs created are ones the poorest families are able to take.
Unless action is taken to help families in severe poverty this year, we’re likely to see the number of children growing up in deep deprivation climb higher in the months to come.
As one mum who we helped to visit Downing Street last week said:
“I don’t want more money. I want the opportunity to not live in poverty. I’m not a lazy person – if there was a local job and I could fit it around the children I would take it.”
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