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14 December, 2020 Open access

Living standards of low-income families continue to deteriorate as a result of COVID-19

New survey carried out by CPAG and the Church of England finds that increased reliance on social security system has pushed families to breaking point

The living standards of low-income families have continued to deteriorate as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England.

In An update on the impact of coronavirus on low-income families and children, CPAG and the Church of England provide an update on the findings from their August 2020 report on the effects of the pandemic on families with children eligible for free school meals.

Key findings, based on 393 online survey responses, include - 

Calling for a series of measures to ensure families receive the support they need over the months and years ahead, Chief Executive of CPAG, Alison Garnham, said - 

'This report shows that things are getting worse for low-income families. Far from seeing signs of recovery, we are witnessing a rapid deterioration in family finances and gloomy future prospects, with long-term unemployment likely to hit many more across the UK in the coming months. The mounting financial and health pressures on parents are leading many to breaking point.

For low-income families, Christmas has always been a difficult time. This year will be even worse - worrying about being able to feed their children and keep them warm can transform the festive season into one of fear and anxiety.

We urgently need to lift the threat of a reduction in universal credit and tax credits in April 2021 and to protect families and children from further hardship by increasing investment in children’s benefits and abolishing the cruel two-child limit and benefit cap policies. This would make a huge difference to families with children, and would show that children haven’t been forgotten as we tackle the aftermath of the pandemic in 2021.'

For more information, see New survey shows deteriorating living standards for low-income families as a result of COVID-19 from cpag.org.uk