Spending cuts will hit families and poor people harder, charities warn

Published 23 October 2010  |  
Christian charities fear the Coalition Government’s spending cuts will hit families and poor people harder than the better off.

The spending review released on Wednesday outlined a spread of changes to the budget, which included raising the state pension age to 66 for men and women, and axing child benefit for any family where one parent is a higher-rate taxpayer.

CARE expressed its “grave concern” over for families with one parent earning over £45,000 and dependents. They will see their tax burden increased by 40%, while the tax burden on a single person earning £45,000 will remain unchanged.

According to the spending review report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the average family with children will lose £1,964 of its £29,242 net income - around 6.7% - a year by 2014. Single people with no dependents will experience only a 2.7% drop in income.

Nola Leach, head of public affairs at CARE, said: “There is no question about the need for cuts but it is imperative that the burden of those cuts is shared out in a fair way that does not disproportionately benefit those on lower incomes and with family responsibilities.”

Church Action on Poverty was more scathing in its criticism of the spending review and particularly changes to the welfare budget, which will see up to one million people lose their entitlement to Employment Support Allowance – around £91 a week - after 12 months.

It warned that the decision to cut the social housing budget in England by more than 50 per cent would force families out of their homes in high cost areas – particularly in London and the South East.

CAP said the changes “made a nonsense” of the Coalition’s commitment to protect people on low incomes.

Instead, it said the poorest and most vulnerable would bear the brunt of the cuts and be propelled into “misery and hardship”.

Christian homelessness charity Housing Justice said the measures would penalise disadvantaged families the most and increase competition for affordable housing.

It said: “Once these changes are introduced, private landlords are unlikely to rent to families on benefit at all.”

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