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8 October, 2020 Open access

Save the Children calls for a ‘Winter Plan for children’ including a £10 per week increase to either child benefit or child element of universal credit and child tax credit

Charity highlights that more than a third of families on universal credit or child tax credit have been forced to rely on charities for food and clothes in last two months

Save the Children has called for a 'Winter Plan for children' including a £10 per week increase to either child benefit or the child element of universal credit and child tax credit.

Publishing the results of an online survey carried out in September 2020 - involving 3,100 parents of children under 18 across the UK claiming either universal credit or child tax credit - Save the Children reports that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left 38 per cent of the families worse off and having to rely on charities for food and clothes. In addition, with winter approaching, 26 per cent were already cutting back on heating and electricity.

Calling for a 'Winter Plan for children', Head of Child Poverty at Save the Children Becca Lyon said today - 

'With winter on its way and more job losses expected, things are about to get even more difficult for families still reeling from the cost of lockdown. Parents tell us they’re already having to go without meals or electricity when their money runs out, and many are worried that the cost of heating their homes through the winter will push them into even more debt. 

It’s just not right that parents are having to borrow money, sell their possessions or rely on charity to buy winter coats for their children. Our country’s safety net is supposed to help those who need it through difficult times. But families with children, many of whom were struggling even before the crisis, are being left – quite literally – in the cold.  

The Chancellor set out his plan for jobs, which is crucial given the unemployment rise facing us. But he must also recognise the added pressure families are under right now, and make policy decisions that reflect that reality, and have our children’s best interests at heart.

At the very least, we’re urging the chancellor not to go ahead with plans to take away £1000 in benefits from low income households next April, which would leave families with children in a desperate situation. And an additional £10 per week now would mean parents don’t have to choose between buying warm winter clothes for their children or keeping the heating on that bit longer.

For more information, see 'We're barely surviving': Struggling families sink deeper into debt as more than a third turn to charity to feed and clothe children from savethechildren.org.uk