Child Benefit: Boris Johnson urged to implement £10 weekly rise to combat poverty

THE GOVERNMENT is being advised to increase each child payment covered by Universal Credit by at least £10 per week, the latest report from the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) has suggested.

Thérèse Coffey grilled on migration of Universal Credit

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As well as the call to raise the amount of child benefit weekly, the commission also urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap the two child limit for Universal Credit to prevent larger families from being discriminated against when accessing support.

The two child benefit cap limits Universal Credit and Tax Credits to the first two children within a single household.

Last week, annual figures published by the DWP revealed that 317,500 families have been impacted by the cap, with 44 percent of them being single parent families.

This represents a 27 percent increase from the year before, and is almost double the amount registered in April 2019.

Currently, there are two Child Benefit rates, with a weekly rate of £21.15 for the eldest or only child and £14 each for any additional children.

Child Benefit is usually paid to claimants every four weeks on either a Monday or Tuesday

In its ‘State of the Nation’ report for 2021, the SMC identified the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on combating child poverty.

The report states: “The Commission has outlined seven key pillars for recovery with detailed recommendations covering: geography and local power; poverty and living standards; early years; education; apprenticeships and adult skills; digital access; and work and career progression.

Child Benefit: Boris Johnson giving a speech

Child Benefit: Boris Johnson is being advised to raise child benefit (Image: GETTY)

“The Commission has frequently highlighted the importance of tackling geographical inequalities and supports the UK Government’s focus on this. But it wants to ensure that levelling up is as much about investment in people as it is about infrastructure.”

According to the report, around one in three (4.3 million) children in the UK which is 700,000 more than in 2012.

Both the child payment increase and the end to the two child limit for Universal Credit are part of the SMC’s £14 billion stimulus package to address the issue of child poverty.

The commission estimates that 1.5 million children across the country will be pulled out of poverty and deprivation if the government was to adopt this measure.

Furthermore, the package is part of a wider series of recommended recovery measures by the public body.

These measures include extending early years’ child care; additional funds for school children suffering in poverty; and a student premium for disadvantaged students between the ages of 16 and 19.

The SMC has asked the government to consider placing social mobility at the centre of its “levelling up” agenda, with the child benefit rise being a key part of it.

Addressing the report, Sandra Wallace, the interim Co-Chair of the SMC, explained: “Now is the time to take action and we must not shy away from difficult decisions. Now is the moment to level up opportunities for children across the country.

Child Benefit: Parent and child saving money

Child Benefit: The commission urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap the two child limit for Universal Credit (Image: GETTY)

“Ending child poverty and investing significantly in education are two of the most impactful and influential things the UK government can do to improve social mobility.”

Steve Cooper, another interim Co-Chair of the SMC, said: “A recovery programme presents a chance to put social mobility at the top of the agenda, but it will have to be a group effort.

He added: “The UK Government urgently needs to take note of the issues raised in this report and put in place the proposed measures to help give children the best start in life.”

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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