By Andrew Holt
A new campaign, backed by leading children and families charities, is being launched today to call on Government to invest in the country’s greatest asset.
Fair4Families argues that families are a major untapped resource and that the Chancellor needs to put them at the top of his agenda in this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
The Fair4Families campaign is led by national charity 4Children and demands specifically that the Comprehensive Spending Review:
Recognises families are assets that can contribute to our economic and social recovery with the right support.
An ambitious vision for support for families, including childcare – so that more parents can contribute to economic growth
Greater investment in housing to give more people the chance to realise their dream of a home fit for a family
A real shift in spending from ineffective late intervention to early intervention
A credible strategy to begin to eradicate child poverty
Protecting crucial services for families with children from further spending reductions for the spending review period
No further spending reductions sought through real terms cuts to benefits paid to families with children
Fair4Families argues that families with children are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their finances as a result of the rising cost of every day necessities like food, petrol, childcare and reductions in benefits and tax credits.
At the same time many families are struggling against a ‘care squeeze’ as they try to meet the dual challenges of raising children and caring for elderly relatives.
Pensioners have been protected from many austerity measures and now benefit from a ‘triple lock’ which means that the state pension will rise by inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.
In contrast, families with children are being asked to meet the rising cost of living in the face of shrinking household incomes and real term cuts in benefits such as tax credits, child benefit and maternity and paternity pay.
Campaign supporters recognise that there are many competing demands on Government and that tough decisions must be made.
Fair4Families argues that children have contributed their fair share to reducing the deficit, and now they need a ‘triple lock’ too; with no further cuts to spending on services or benefits for families with children and a positive offer for the future on key issues such as housing and childcare.
The campaign’s activities will begin today with a letter to the Chancellor, urging him to invite families to 11 Downing Street so that he can hear first hand about the daily challenges they are facing trying to make ends meet.
Research carried out by 4Children in December 2012 revealed that people with children living in their household in Britain have real concerns that they will be affected by each of the following in 2013:
75% are concerned they will be affected by the rising cost of living
35% are worried about changes to welfare support
33% are worried about capped, frozen or reduced salaries
29% feel anxious about personal debt
18% are worried about reduced local support (health, family and community services)
18% are concerned about redundancy
5% are fearful of having their home repossessed
Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said: “Fair4Families speaks for the thousands of families who are reaching breaking point as a result of the rising cost of living and in many cases, falling household incomes.
"Families need a helping hand to get them through these hard times. This year’s Comprehensive Spending Review will be an important moment for families.
"They want the Chancellor to put families at the top of the agenda with a new ‘triple lock’ which will mean no further cuts to spending on services or benefits for families with children and a positive offer for the future on the big issues like housing and childcare.”
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