Securing the Future PortalHealth and Social Care PortalEfficiency and Productivity Portalyahoo

Is it fair that adults who do not have dependent children are penalised? Throughout the previous Government’s tenure, JRF highlighted the unfair treatment of adults without dependent children.

There was – and still is – a target to eradicate parental poverty and an ambition to reduce deprivation among pensioners. In fact, the fall in poverty among older people remains a great unsung success of the Labour administration, virtually halving over the last decade to 16 per cent. To tackle child poverty, billions of pounds have been put into Child Tax Credit.

 


This developing three-way hierarchy between pensioners, families and childless adults looks set, under recent budget cuts, to be continued and potentially accelerated.



The main impact on childless adults who receive benefits will be the new way of altering how their benefits are annually updated. In the short term, this will probably only make a few pounds difference each year. But in the medium- to long-term (beyond the forecasts provided in the Budget appendices), this kind of 'benefit erosion' can have serious consequences, compounding the real experience of poverty and exclusion for those at the receiving end.

 

Throughout the previous Government’s tenure, JRF highlighted the unfair treatment of adults without dependent children. There was – and still is – a target to eradicate parental poverty and an ambition to reduce deprivation among pensioners. In fact, the fall in poverty among older people remains a great unsung success of the Labour administration, virtually halving over the last decade to 16 per cent. To tackle child poverty, billions of pounds have been put into Child Tax Credit.


This developing three-way hierarchy between pensioners, families and childless adults looks set, under recent budget cuts, to be continued and potentially accelerated.


The main impact on childless adults who receive benefits will be the new way of altering how their benefits are annually updated. In the short term, this will probably only make a few pounds difference each year. But in the medium- to long-term (beyond the forecasts provided in the Budget appendices), this kind of 'benefit erosion' can have serious consequences, compounding the real experience of poverty and exclusion for those at the receiving end.


This is in addition to benefit levels for childless adults having slipped behind earnings. The Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2010 shows that Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance provide for about two-fifths of the weekly needs of those without children, compared with up to two-thirds for families. Pensioner couples can reach the income standard if they claim all they are entitled to. The future incomes of retired people will also be protected with a guarantee that pensions will be increased by a minimum of 2.5 per cent or in line with earnings or prices, whichever is greater.


The Budget also provided some protection for families through an increase in Child Tax Credit but those without children received none. In contrast, the raising of the income tax thresholds will help all those in work and earning enough to benefit. Recent research by Demos for JRF shows how people can be taxed into an inadequate living standard. This highlights the need to take a comprehensive view on tax, benefits and earnings in order to get to grips with all aspects of poverty.


The JRF has taken this more comprehensive approach in previous research we have funded by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to estimate the impact of fiscal policy on future levels of child poverty, and the cost of meeting targets through redistribution. We are repeating the forecasting exercise, publishing in December, but expanding the analysis to those without children to look at their prospects to 2015 and beyond. We hope this will help ensure that policy does not keep putting childless adults in poverty last on the list.


Difficult decisions need to be taken about the support children, working-age adults and pensioners will receive in the future. On what basis should these decisions be made?

Written by Chris Goulden
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 0:12
tags:CutsJrf

Add comment



Refresh

Most Read Tags

Interviews

The Govtoday Debate

Karen Jennings, Assistant General Secretary, UNISON

FORTHCOMING EVENTS / POST-EVENT DEBATES

GovToday Limited Peter House Oxford Street Manchester M1 5AN

Copyright © 2012 Govtoday. All Rights Reserved.