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Cash boost for families ‘needed to lift up to 700,000 children out of poverty’

FAMILIES must be given an urgent cash boost during the coronavirus pandemic to lift up to 700,000 children out of poverty, the TUC warned today.

Doubling child-benefit payments or raising universal credit (UC) and tax credits for parents with children would make a “life-changing difference” to the poorest households, according to a report by the progressive Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank and the trade union federation.

The government must also invest in childcare as part of a family stimulus package that would help boost the economy through higher household spending as parents continue working, they urged.

IPPR executive director Carys Roberts said: “The higher payments we’re calling for with the TUC will mean fewer families forced to rely on foodbanks to feed their children or otherwise scrambling to keep themselves afloat as the pandemic continues.”

She added that helping families who are in dire financial straits would also give a much-needed boost to the economy, preventing even more jobs being lost.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “When a childcare provider goes out of business, the knock-on effects are dreadful for working parents, employers and the economy.

“Without childcare, many parents would have to reduce their hours or may not be able to work at all. And that will hold back our economic recovery.

“It’s more often mums than dads who do the larger share of childcare. So the impact is likely to be much worse for women workers. 

“It could reverse years of progress on employment equality.”

A government spokesman said it has “consistently supported the lowest-paid families” and insisted that the benefit cap “provides a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable.”

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