In April 2015, we were approached by Shelter’s Legal team to assist Lisa, a client who had been found intentionally homeless owing to renting a previous property and rent not being paid through poor judgement on her behalf.
When Lisa was referred to us she was due to be street homeless within the next week as she was given her notice to quit from temporary accommodation. It is pertinent to add the Lisa was 7 months pregnant at the time.
After liaising with Lisa’s legal representative, and through good timing, a studio became available the day after I had assessed her. It wasn’t ideal but would be suitable for the time being as she wasn’t yet entitled to the two bedroom rate. Faced with the imminent prospect of street homelessness Lisa was more than happy with the flat. Continue reading
In 2010 the Child Poverty Act, committing the government to ending child poverty by 2020, was passed with the support of all the main political parties. Upon its election later the same year the coalition government reaffirmed it’s commitment to meeting the targets in the act. Five years later the newly elected Conservative government has now announced plans to scrap the act and it’s accompanying targets, effectively breaking their promise to improve the lives of the millions British children living in poverty.
In his statement Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith argued that the definitions of poverty laid out in the act are insufficient. Instead of measuring poverty by a family’s income he wants the government to look at the proportion of families in workless households and educational attainment. Quite aside from the problems with such measures, the key thing to note is that what is being proposed is the removal or targets on any measure, meaning the government would no longer be legally committed to reducing child poverty. Continue reading
Today sees the launch of a joint submission from children’s charities and other civic society groups to the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, which will be undertaking its Fifth Periodic Review examining the UK government’s record on this issue in the coming months. The response has been co-ordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and Z2K was delighted to have been asked to chair the working group drawing together evidence on living standards and child poverty, and making recommendations how the government’s approach might be improved.
The submission includes 172 recommendations across policy areas including family life, education, culture and leisure, health and disability, criminal justice and refugees/asylum seekers, as well as those we agreed on child poverty. There are also a series of recommendations about what more needs to be done to tackle child abuse and sexual exploitation, which form a very strong section of the submission. It is supported by 76 organisations, ranging from some of the biggest children’s charities like Barnardo’s and the NSPCC to smaller ones working on specific policy issues like Baby Milk Action and Policy for Play. Continue reading