CPAG: Low wages and Universal Credit in danger of locking families into poverty

Responding to the findings of a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on Universal Credit published today, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“This helpful report is the latest to identify a number of serious but fixable shortcomings in Universal Credit, which if left untouched would for many families undermine its aims of always making work pay and fighting poverty. As preparations continue for the national roll-out, it’s essential that ministers and officials do not ignore these considered and constructive concerns.

“A lot is being asked of and a lot is being claimed for Universal Credit, but the simple fact is that unless wages rise, or targeted support for families is boosted, we will leave far too many families locked into poverty no matter how hard they work. One obvious fix is to do something about the inadequate help for childcare costs, because today’s report shows that some families will be no better off in work once childcare costs are accounted for.

“We also need poverty-pay employers to do the right thing and pay living wages, instead of making taxpayers subsidise their profits by paying part of the wage bill. There’s a strong business case for the living wage, as people who get decent pay are more productive and it also frees up government spending to do more to help the many families with children today suffering a living standards squeeze.”


Notes to Editors

The report Universal Credit, Making Work Pay? will be published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on 11 July 2013 and is available in advance under embargo from the JRF press office.

CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.

CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

For further information please contact:

Tim Nichols

CPAG Press Officer

Tel.: 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302