Bishop of Durham asks about the impact of inflation on families

The Bishop of Durham asked a question on benefits for families with children during a debate on inflation on 16th March 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of inflation on the real terms value of the benefits received by families with children.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: My Lords, by convention, the September inflation figure is used to uprate benefits. Any fluctuations year on year smooth out over time. In 2022-23, we will spend an extra £2.6 billion on benefits for people of working age, following the annual uprating exercise. We are providing £12 billion this year and next to help with the cost of living. In addition, we recently announced support worth £9.1 billion to help households with rising energy costs next year.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: I thank the Minister for her Answer. By now, we are aware that the cost-of-living crisis will hit every one of us, but the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Child Poverty Action Group, Resolution Foundation and New Economics Foundation all agree that it is going to hit families with children hardest, particular those with more than two children. They will see a real-terms cut in their benefits this year. There are further warnings of inflation of over 10% for the poorest families if the Ukrainian conflict continues and there are no plans for further mitigation from the Government. In this climate, can the Minister point us to parameters that demonstrate the ongoing apparent success of the two-child limit or does she agree that now is the time simply to scrap it?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: My Lords, the Government understand people’s concern about pressure on household budgets and are taking action to help. We are working closely and monitoring the situation with the Bank of England. The Government are also putting in place policies to help families and individuals to meet the rising costs of living, such as increasing the national living wage and cutting the taper rate in universal credit. I am sorry to disappoint the right reverend Prelate, but we have no plans to change the two-child policy.


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