CPAG’s 2018 Cost of a Child report shows what it costs to raise a child to age 18, based on what the public thinks is a minimum standard of living.
The overall cost of a child (including rent and childcare) is £150,753 for a couple and £183,335 for a lone parent.
A combination of rising prices, benefits and tax credits freezes, the benefit cap and two-child limit, cuts to housing benefits, bedroom tax and the rolling out of universal credit have hit family budgets hard. Life has been getting progressively tougher for families on low or modest incomes over the past ten years, with families on in-work and out-of-work benefits hardest hit.
Even families with two parents currently working full time on the ‘national living wage’ are 11% (£49 per week) short of the income the public defines as an acceptable, no-frills living standard. For lone parents, even with a reasonably paid job (on median earnings) will be 15% (£56 per week) short of an adequate income because of the high cost of childcare.
Many families – both in and out of work – get support from the social security system to help free them from the worst effects of poverty. Next year universal credit will be rolled out to everyone claiming one or more of the benefits it will replace. But the way the government plans to do this risks increasing hardship.
For a start, the way the government wants the 3 million people affected to move onto universal credit puts all the risk on to the shoulders of claimants – many of whom are vulnerable.
CPAG are asking MPs to persuade the government to change their plans. You can help by writing to your MP.
CPAG have proposed an alternative system which puts the needs of claimants at the heart of the process, and greatly reduces the risk of families facing destitution. You can help them make the case for this approach by asking your MP to push for changes. MPs will have chance to debate these rules and vote on them, but they can’t make changes once they’ve reached parliament. So the time to act is now.
Half of all children in the UK live in families who will receive universal credit when the rollout is complete. Can we ensure that these children don’t face hardship in the process of moving on to universal credit?
The full CPAG Cost of a Child 2018 report is available on their website