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Welfare shake-up will increase child poverty

A new study warns that welfare changes ‘will double the number of children in poverty’, and half of low-income families will lose thousands of pounds a year.

Flagship welfare reforms will trigger a big increase in families unable to make ends meet, new analysis reveals. The number of children living in families that have a monthly deficit will double in some areas, because of the combined impact of universal credit, a two-child limit on some welfare payments and the benefits cap.

The research, produced for the Children’s Commissioner, found that a quarter of children in its sample would be hit by the measures. Almost half of low-income households examined were affected, losing on average £3,441 a year.

Charities and researchers are already warning of rising child poverty. Amber Rudd, the Work and pensions Secretary, has been attempting to soften the government’s reforms, putting more money into universal credit, limiting the two-child policy and sanctioning fewer claimants.

However, the Policy in Practice consultancy found that the combined effects of the three welfare reforms still meant that 25% of children in its study were in low-income families who would be unable to make ends meet. Without the policies, only 13% would be in households spending more than their income.

Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said that welfare cuts announced four years ago kicked in only last month. “These cuts are the culmination of a significant retrenchment of support with children,” he said. “The result is more children living in poverty. Absolute child poverty rose last year, and we expect relative child poverty to rise in the years ahead.”

Read: the Guardian – Welfare shake-up ‘will double number of children in poverty’