Report finds welfare reform places UK's poorest families into deeper poverty

  • A report by Oxfam has revealed that welfare cuts have pushed 1.75 million UK households into deeper poverty, meaning more families are struggling to pay for their food and energy bills.

    Pounds Down

    The joint report by Oxfam and the New Policy Institute highlights a drop in the overall value of benefits, which rose by less than inflation, alongside changes to housing benefit and council tax support that have forced many families into paying for housing costs which were previously deemed too poor to pay. Together those changes have meant that 1.75 million of the poorest families have seen a large cut in their income over the past three years, reports the Guardian.

    The reports has warned that the changes to welfare support have meant people are struggling with the rise of living costs and many jobseekers, carers, single parents and people with disabilities who are unable to work are now becoming worse off. It found that 300,000 households have experienced a cut in housing benefits, 920,000 had a reduction in council tax support and 480,000 had a cut in both. Many households affected by cuts typically lost around £18 per week.

    Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said:"We are already seeing people turning to food banks and struggling with rent, council tax, childcare and travel costs to job centres. At a time when the five richest families in the UK have the same wealth as the bottom 20% of the population it is unacceptable that the poorest are paying such a heavy price."

    Oxfam is urging the government to determine what the absolute minimum level of support should be for households. "It must be high enough to mean that those reliant upon it are not forced to walk the breadline," said the charity.

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