In an attempt to dress up his emergency Budget as progressive, George Osborne claimed that taken as a whole, the proposals he announced today would not increase measured child poverty over the next two years.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) beg to differ. While they are still crunching the numbers – a process they expect to take a while due to the sheer breadth of today’s announcements – a spokesman told us that their initial view was that the Budget is not progressive.
“We don’t think it can be called a progressive budget,” he said. “To be a progressive budget it has to reduce child poverty.” By contrast, Osborne is merely claiming current levels will not increase.
Moreover, by focusing on the headline figure of 60 percent of median income, the spokesman warned that Osborne has ignored the increase in material deprivation that will likely result from cuts in services.
He added that even if headline child poverty rates do not increase, many of those already below the poverty line could find themselves worse off due to cuts to grants and benefits such as the scrapping of the Health in Pregnancy grant.
“A lot’s been taken away from support for infants and women in pregnancy,” he said. “Some families that unfortunately tick more of the boxes that have been taken away, these are the families that will be worse hit.”
In particular, CPAG has concerns over families where the mother is pregnant, families that require housing benefit, and families that include claimants of Disability Living Allowance.