News: Scrap benefit caps to boost compassion in social security

Campaigners say the next Westminster Government can return compassion to the social security system by scrapping ‘inhuman’ benefit limits that push people into debt and destitution.

The Poverty Alliance election manifesto is calling for an end to the controversial two-child limit and benefit cap, saying that they are causing lasting harm to households who need support the most.
Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “People in the UK believe in justice and compassion. They believe that our social security system, like our NHS, should be there for all of us when we need.”

“But the two-child limit has stripped vital support from nearly 90,000 children in Scotland, pushing many of these families into poverty. It particularly punishes one parent families, the vast majority of whom are headed by women.

“And the unjust benefit cap cuts the vital link between the financial support that households need and what they actually receive. The way it has been designed means it’s most likely to hit those people who most need support – including lone parents, large families, and families with young children.

“The next UK Government must scrap these inhuman and ineffective policies. A social security system based on compassion and justice and that works for everyone, is something we can all get behind and be proud of.”

In their ‘Securing the Future’ manifesto, which will be published today (Mon 24), the Poverty Alliance calls on the new Government to support work towards a Minimum Income Guarantee – an income level that nobody would be allowed to fall below. They also back calls from the Trussell Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation for an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ that would immediately boost the value of Universal Credit.

They are also calling for Westminster to create a new UK-wide anti-poverty strategy, with targets for reducing poverty set down in law.

The manifesto outlines the Poverty Alliance’s recommendations across five critical areas: taking an all-government approach to tackling poverty; building a more compassionate social security system; tackling the high cost of living; designing a labour market that works for everyone; and funding the fight against poverty.

The manifesto also demands:
– An end to the ‘young parent penalty’ that sees those under-25 paid less in Universal Credit
– A social tariff to help people struggling to pay energy bills
– Stronger workers’ rights so they can achieve real Living Wages and Living Hours
– Better use of taxation, to fund better budgets for public services and the fight against poverty

Peter Kelly said: “Since the last general election, the pandemic and the cost of living crisis have exposed how vulnerable to poverty millions of people are in the UK. Too many struggle with inadequate benefit payments, insecure and low paid work, and public services they can no longer rely on. We are a very rich country, but we do not use that wealth to provide the security everyone needs. The next Government must set a new path, one that provides freedom from poverty, opportunity, and security for everyone”

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