Our joint letter to the chancellor…

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing to you as leaders of the UK’s leading children’s charities to implore you to uprate benefits in line with inflation. We are gravely concerned about the impact it will have on children if families face a real-terms cut to social security.

Close up of a young blonde girl sitting and holding her legs, looking visibly upset, sat next to a large window with net curtains.

The scale and impact of the cost of living crisis on children cannot be underestimated. At a time when so many families are already struggling to put food on the table, a real-terms cut to their income would be catastrophic. Already, 3.9 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty. Uprating benefits in line with earnings instead of inflation would plunge another 200,000 children into poverty.

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Many households rely on social security to supplement low pay. These hard-working families have no room for manoeuvre and stand to lose a further £1,061 (on average). We hear from our frontline professionals that many simply will not cope — and we know that it is children that will pay the price. Ordinary families frankly need more support, not less.

Now is not the time to leave families with less. From any standpoint, it is evident that growth will take time and its benefits will also take time to reach ordinary families. Consequently, in the immediate term, children must be urgently protected. There are no second chances at childhood. It is precious, and our future’s foundation. If we cast aside a generation of children, the impact on them — and wider society — will be felt for generations.

As a society, we are rightly committed to reducing child poverty. It’s the right thing to do morally and it is good for government finances. Child poverty costs the UK £38 billion a year, through reduced revenues for the exchequer and increased need for support services. We know from our work with children that they feel their parents stress acutely — and with more children and young people anxious and depressed in the UK than ever before, it is concerning that The Children’s Society’s latest Good Childhood Report found that 85% of parents are concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on their family over the next 12 months. Research following the last financial crisis showed that 9 in 10 parents who are in arrears on a household bill or credit payment cut back on necessities for their children. Going without these essentials impacts children’s physical, mental and educational development, staying with them for the rest of their lives.

Please do the right thing and protect children during this crisis. Benefits must rise in line with inflation, or we will leave our next generation with less than we had.

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Signed:

Mark Russell, CEO, The Children’s Society
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK
Sir Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, NSPCC
Lynn Perry MBE, CEO, Barnardo’s
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
Joseph Howes, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition
Imran Hussain, Action for Children
Leigh Middleton, CEO, National Youth Agency
David Holmes CBE, CEO, Family Action
Kadra Abdinasir, Strategic Lead, The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
Kathy Evans, CEO, Children England
Dr Carol Homden CBE, Group Chief Executive, Coram
Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread
Des Lynch, CEO, Wood Street Mission
Paul Marshall, CEO, National Development Team for Inclusion
Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association
Will Snell, Chief Executive, Fairness Foundation
Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries, National Education Union
Clare Simpson, Director, Parenting across Scotland
Katie Bareham, CEO, Doorstep Library
Julia Ross, Chair, British Association of Social Workers
Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network
Katherine Hill, Strategic Project Manager, 4in10 London’s Child Poverty Network Andrew Forsey, Feeding Britain
Anela Anwar, CEO, Z2K
Anna Turley, Chair, North East Child Poverty Commission
Andy Elvin, CEO, TACT
Irene Audain MBE Chief Executive , Scottish Out of School Care Network
Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network
Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive, The Childhood Trust
Claire Donovan, Head of Policy, Research & Campaigns, End Furniture Poverty
Andy Elvin, CEO, Tact
Irene Audain MBE Chief Executive , Scottish Out of School Care Network
Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network
Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive, The Childhood Trust
Claire Donovan, Head of Policy, Research & Campaigns, End Furniture Poverty

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