Families feeling the squeeze as child costs rise

Families are struggling as the cost of bringing up a child has risen to £148,000, according to research for the Child Poverty Action Group charity (CPAG). The report, co-funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity, says costs have risen by 4% over the last year. At the same time, it says the value of benefit payments fell in real terms.

The CPAG says parents face a “growing struggle” to provide a decent standard of living for their families. “This research paints a stark picture of families being squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages, yet receiving ever-diminishing support from the government over the course of the last year,” said Alison Garnham, the chief executive of the CPAG. “The task of making ends meet for families with children has always been hard, but is getting harder,” adds Katie Schmuecker of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. “Balancing family budgets has become a perilous and delicate act for hard-pressed parents,” she said.

The government, however, claim that they are helping families by cutting income tax for 25 million people. They also repeatedly defend their welfare reforms by arguing that it needs to cut down on the bill to tax-payers. The government’s intention is to try and persuade more people to go out to work. What the clear incompetence of the government hasn’t spotted is that there isn’t the work out there, and even if there is work out there, not everyone will get it. Young people always seem to be at a disadvantage because these companies always want experience.

Let’s take a look at the statistics just to give everyone an idea of how successful the government have been. Benefit payments rose by 1% in April this year as a result of the welfare changes. The minimum wage rose by 1.8%, whilst average earnings rose by 1.5%, and child benefit was frozen. Well all this may be positive. However, on the other side of the coin, we have the cost of living rising by a much larger percentage, childcare costs rising by almost 6% over the past year, lower income families have seen cuts in housing support, and many non-working families have had to start paying council tax, as well as wages not on the rise.

All these statistics show that the government are not favouring the less well off, and just making life easier for the richer few percent of the country. I’m not saying that lower income backgrounds like my own should be exempt, but it’s a struggle to get by for those people as it is, so making it even harder for them is not going to help in any way. I’m disappointed to see just how little the government are doing, just to try and get people into work when work isn’t there.

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