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1/5 families struggle to buy food, campaigners warn

One in five families are struggling to provide their children with basic food and heating due to below-inflation rises according to analysis by the End Child Poverty coalition.

They say that the government’s curbs on child tax credit and child benefit rises have left 1.5 million families, two thirds of which are in low-income work, struggling to pay bills and buy food. 

The campaign group’s report Short Changed: The True Cost of Cuts to Children’s Benefits says more than two million children have suffered as a result and they are asking the government to ensure children’s benefits rise in line with the cost of living. 

They want to see children’s benefits given a similar “triple lock” as the basic state pension which guarantees a rise in line with prices, earnings or by 2.5 per cent, whichever is the highest. 

End Child Poverty chair David Holmes said: “It is deeply worrying that parents are having to cut back on food, heating and other essentials that their children need in order to develop and thrive. During the election campaign David Cameron promised not to cut child benefit, now is the time for him to keep that pledge. We think it is vital that child benefits keep pace with the cost of living and that the government gives them the same protection as the state pension”.