Children in Scotland has responded to the recent Westminster benefit cap inquiry, warning that the implementation of the cap will increase child poverty and cause vulnerable families to be more reliant on government welfare and services, both now and in the future.
Our response highlights concerns about the implication that those on benefits merely require an incentive to work and identifies barriers such as unaffordable childcare and a lack of skills or training, which make it difficult for people to move straight into work. We urge Westminster to consider positive and active policy measures relating to the provision of childcare and the labour market, which may help make positive inroads in getting more families out of poverty.
Our response also warns of a knock-on effect on other areas of public spending, and states:
“We suggest [the cap] will increase child poverty rates and impact negatively on health and wellbeing of both the adults claiming and their children. This is likely to contribute to an increasing level of pressure on the NHS, CAMHS and a wide array of other services, and contribute to increased costs for the government and local authorities.”
Last year, the UK Government introduced a benefit cap. It limits the income households can receive in certain benefits to £20,000 a year outside of London and to £23,000 in London.
The inquiry, launched by the UK Work and Pensions Committee, aims to identify how it impacts on the estimated 88,000 British households affected by the new cap.
Alongside our own response, we also fully endorse and support the response of the Child Poverty Action Group to the inquiry. We hope the committee take on board fully the recommendations made, taking account of the impact of the benefit cap on the day-to-day life of children, young people and families across the UK.