Government announces end to benefits freeze in April 2020

Earlier this month, the Government confirmed that the current freeze in benefit payments will end in April 2020 – four years after it was first brought in. Generally, benefit rates are increased by a small amount at the start of each tax year to take into account the yearly rise in living costs. However, the benefits freeze, which began in April 2016, means that there has been no increase in working age benefits and tax credits for four years – which has played a key role in exacerbating poverty levels among working families across the UK.

While the social security system is based on principles of inclusion, support and security for all, this benefits freeze has been identified as a key factor in increasing child poverty rates and keeping families locked in poverty. Greater action is needed to ensure that the social security system supports those who need it, and provides a safety net for our most vulnerable in society.

Aoife Hamilton, Policy and Information Manager at Employers For Childcare explains: “Employers For Childcare welcomes the end of the benefits freeze, but we feel that more must be done to help lift families out of poverty. Many families will see only a small uplift in the support they are entitled to, whilst in-work poverty remains the fastest rising category of poverty in the UK, and children are those hardest hit. We need to ensure that, as a society, we are giving our children and young people the best start in life.”

“There is an opportunity to go further and give a much needed boost to low and middle income families by taking practical steps to make changes to the welfare system. We would like to see an end to the two-child limit, a reduction in the five-week wait for Universal Credit, removal of the requirement for childcare costs to be paid up front, and an extension of the mitigation package in Northern Ireland.”

Employers For Childcare advises anyone considering making a claim for Universal Credit to always seek personalised advice before doing so. For a personal ‘better off’ calculation, please call our Family Benefits Advice Service on 028 9267 8200. Our trained advisors can help to ensure you are accessing all of the financial support you are entitled to.