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Social Security Benefits: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 120623, tabled on 8 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2016, whether her Department has undertaken the comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impact of the full range of social security and tax credit reforms introduced between 2010 and 2016 on children, including children with disabilities and children belonging to ethnic minority groups.

Answered on

16 February 2022

Since 2010 the Government has regularly published cumulative analysis of the impacts of its tax, welfare and public spending policies on households. The most recent assessment was published at Budget 2021. It showed that, in 2021/22, the poorest 60% of households will receive more in public spending than they contribute in tax. And households in the lowest income decile will receive more than £4 in public spending for every £1 they pay in tax on average.

This cumulative distributional analysis (by HM Treasury) is the most comprehensive available, covering not only the effects of direct cash transfers between households and government, but also the effects of frontline public service provision. Welfare spending is not the only way to help families with children; further support, including health spending, employment support, and investment in infrastructure are important enablers to the removal of barriers to participation.

It would be very challenging to produce analysis, of the same high quality, across other characteristics such as disability and ethnicity. Many benefits and services are paid or provided to households rather than individuals. Modelling would have to make strong assumptions about how income (and the benefits of wider service provision) is shared within households and the analysis results would be heavily dependent on these specific assumptions.

Nonetheless, the Treasury, along with other relevant departments, carefully considers the impact of its decisions on those sharing protected characteristics, such as disability and ethnicity, including at Budgets and other fiscal events, in line with both its legal obligations and with its strong commitment to promoting fairness.