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Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5095, tabled on 25 January 2023

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Child of the North Child Poverty and the Cost of Living Crisis, published on 23 January, what steps they are taking to help mitigate the effects of the increased cost of living for families in areas with the highest levels of child poverty.

Answered on

2 February 2023

The Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families. We will spend over £245bn through the welfare system in 2022/23 including £111bn on people of working age.

In 2023/24, subject to parliamentary approval, we are uprating all benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1%. In order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions the benefit cap levels are also increasing by the same amount.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living this winter and is taking action to help. The Government's Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical British household around £900 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap - reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

For those who require additional support the current Household Support Fund, running in England from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, is providing £421 million of funding. The devolved administrations have been allocated £79 million through the Barnett formula.  The Household Support Fund will continue until March 2024. This year long extension allows Local Authorities in England to continue to provide discretionary support to those most in need to help with the significantly rising cost of living. The Devolved Administrations will receive consequential funding as usual to spend at their discretion.

In addition, for 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments. This will be split into three payments of around £300 each across the 2023/24 financial year. A separate £300 payment will be made to pensioner households on top of their Winter Fuel Payments and individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment. Further to this, the amended Energy Price Guarantee will save the average UK household £500 in 2023/24.

With 1.16 million job vacancies across the UK, our focus remains firmly on supporting parents to move into, and progress in work, an approach which is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment - particularly where it is full-time - in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children. To further support those who are in work, from 1 April 2023 subject to parliamentary approval, the National Living Wage (NLW) will increase by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over - the largest ever cash increase for the NLW.