The promises made by the government in this week’s Autumn Statement are not enough to help struggling families, a charity has claimed.
Single parent organisation Gingerbread has said that Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond “missed a crucial opportunity” to help single parent families.
Measures announced during the Statement included an increase in the national living wage and a small cut to the universal credit ‘taper rate’. This is a means-tested financial support system for people of working age. However, if they earn above a certain threshold, called a ‘work allowance’, they only receive a portion of the wages above that level. A cut to this taper rate will mean people can keep slightly more of the money they earn above the work allowance.
Gingerbread’s Director of Policy Dalia Ben-Galim said that while these new measures were welcome, “they are not anywhere near enough to undo the damage that has already been done”. Instead of doing more to make things easier for low-income families “the Chancellor made the choice to splurge on a personal tax allowance giveaway which helps those on higher incomes more than it does those on low incomes” she claimed.
The charity claimed that the delayed rollout of the universal credit scheme meant that some families who need help to afford childcare so they can continue working would not get any until 2022. Ben-Galim insisted that making such an investment “would boost productivity by raising maternal employment rates, generating £436m to the Treasury from tax revenue and welfare savings”.
Although the government has promised to help families who are struggling, the Autumn Statement “has been yet another disappointment” for those in need, she said.