Welfare cuts ‘force thousands into poverty’

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Children. Pic © Eitan / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Children. Pic © Eitan / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Plans to slash welfare benefits will force thousands of Liverpool children into poverty, according to two new reports.

The government recently announced plans strip up to £12 billion that is paid in benefits off the budget as two reports have revealed that lone parents, and families with children who depend on welfare support, will see their income substantially reduced.

However pensioners and workers without children will benefit, according to the reports from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Resolution Foundation

The Resolution Foundation analysis suggests 200,000 children will be in poverty nationally by 2016 as a result of the changes, potentially rising to 600,000 once all the policy measures are introduced.

Liverpool is set to be one of the hardest hit cities. The number of families turning to food banks just to feed their children has seen a rise on Merseyside and this looks to increase with the welfare changes.

Nicola Hawkes, South Liverpool Foodbank co-ordinator, told JMU Journalism: “We don’t have a crystal ball but unfortunately it seems likely. I’m expecting our numbers to go up this year. We’ve seen a lot more people this summer than previously. So, we are expecting more.”

She said that nearly half the people who used their food bank in the last year were children.

“A lot of families over the long summer holidays especially the families that are entitled to free school meal,” she said.

“They haven’t been able to cope, we’ve seen more and more large families coming to us looking for help.  Last year in our food bank we fed 3,500 people – probably 2,000 adults and 1,500 children.”

Liverpool has previously been dubbed the “poverty capital” of England.

Earlier this year the Getting By report, commissioned by the city council, found that Liverpool’s poorest families are suffering from falling incomes and are having to rely on charitable hand-outs.

Hawkes added that Merseyside is also one of the most generous areas: “We have a lot of food donated, which is good because we are getting through a lot of it.”

About Barry Rocks, JMU Journalism