My word, the Equality and Human Rights Commission must be working overtime. It has published a dramatic report titled ‘The cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms’, just days after it submitted a report to the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). (See also my story here).
That highlighted the fact that the UK’s social security system does not provide sufficient assistance to tackle inadequate living standards.
This new report exposes how much people are expected to lose because of ongoing changes to taxes and social security, including welfare reforms. It also reveals how many adults and children are likely to fall below an adequate standard of living.
The report, which looks at the reforms from 2010 to 2018 and the impact will have on various groups across society in 2021 to 2022.
Its key findings are that children will be hit hardest as:
- an extra 1.5 million will be in poverty
- the child poverty rate for those in lone parent households will increase from 37% to over 62%
- households with three or more children will see particularly large losses of around £5,600
The report also finds:
- households with at least one disabled adult and a disabled child will lose over £6,500 a year, over 13% of their annual income
- Bangladeshi households will lose around £4,400 a year, in comparison to ‘White’ households, or households with adults of differing ethnicity, which will only lose between £500 and £600 on average
- lone parents will lose an average of £5,250 a year, almost one-fifth of their annual income
- women will lose about £400 per year on average, while men will only lose £30
Negative impacts include disability welfare reforms
According to the report, the negative impacts are largely driven by changes to the benefit system. In particular, these are the freeze in working-age benefit rates, changes to disability benefits, and reductions in Universal Credit rates.
Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman David Isaac said: “It’s disappointing to discover that the reforms we have examined negatively affect the most disadvantaged in our society. It’s even more shocking that children – the future generation – will be the hardest hit and that so many will be condemned to start life in poverty. We cannot let this continue if we want a fairer Britain.
“We are keen to work together with government to achieve its vision of a Britain that works for everyone. To achieve this outcome, it is essential that a full cumulative impact analysis is undertaken of all current and future tax and social security policies. We have proved it’s possible and urge the government to follow our lead and work with us to deliver it.”
Additionally, the Commission is reiterating its call for the government to:
- reconsider existing policies that are contributing to negative financial impacts for those who are most disadvantaged
- review the level of welfare benefits to ensure that they provide an adequate standard of living
Fine words and a sentiment that has my wholehearted support. Such a shame that Theresa May’s lacklustre minority government, propped up by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists, won’t listen. Why won’t it listen? Because it doesn’t care. Simple as that.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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