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31 March, 2020 Open access

Emergency support package needed to support ‘children of the pandemic’, says IPPR

New briefing calls for range of urgent measures including £10 a week increase in child element of universal credit and working tax credit and removal of two-child limit and benefit cap

An emergency support package is needed to support the ‘children of the pandemic’, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

In a briefing, Children of the pandemic, published today, IPPR argues that -

'No child should struggle to eat or live healthily and learn to their full potential because of the COVID-19 crisis. With the number of children living in poverty already set to increase to five million in 2020, this could be a time of increased fear, hardship and disruption for many. To prevent this, steps need to be taken quickly and urgently to strengthen our social safety net and allow access to essentials like outdoor space and digital access.'

IPPR goes on to say that, while the government has taken strong actions to support firms and some workers affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), further measures are needed in support of children and their families, including that-

IPPR Associate Director for Work and the Welfare State Clare McNeil said today -

'Significant financial support has been put in place for both firms and workers since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. But there are still holes in the government’s offer.

Caring for children needs to be recognised for what it is: a full-time occupation. The government needs to give people who are unable or unwilling to work from home while caring for children the option of paid leave for the duration of this crisis, as other countries have done.

And to prevent children in newly unemployed families from falling into poverty or hardship as a result of this crisis, the government must invest further in universal credit to make it a genuine safety net - not a tightrope over poverty.'

For more information, see COVID-19: Emergency support package needed to save ‘children of the pandemic’ from becoming its unseen victims from ippr.org