Can you help shape Gingerbread’s emotional and mental health support?
28th Nov 2023
Posted 8 November 2023
I’m supporting calls from @Gingerbread and a group of other charities to reverse unfair, ineffective conditionality changes. @MPname, please raise the issue in Parliament and urge the Chancellor to reconsider.
Re: Universal Credit conditionality changes for parents with lead care
We write to you to express our shared concerns with the introduction of stricter conditionality requirements for Universal Credit claimants with lead care.
When you announced in the Spring Statement that the Government would be boosting childcare support for low-income families – notably through changes to the childcare element of Universal Credit – we welcomed this as a positive step forward that would help to break down barriers to work for a considerable number of parents. However, the subsequent changes to conditionality threaten to counteract this progress.
Under the new rules, over 700,000 lead carers on Universal Credit (90% of whom will be women, and over 23% of whom will be disabled) will need to increase their work hours significantly or spend more time seeking work to be eligible for the benefit.
As organisations representing parents, we are extremely worried about the impact this will have on those affected for the following key reasons:
With this considered, the changes risk placing lead carers in the impossible position of needing to work more hours without having access to suitable childcare or jobs and a potential increase in sanctions among parents of young children. This is particularly troubling as a five-year academic study of welfare conditionality published in 2018 found that not only were sanctions ineffective, but they also impacted on people’s wellbeing and pushed them further into poverty.
Moreover, for certain groups- including disabled parents and single parents- the impact of these changes will be more acute due to the unique challenges they face. Single parents will be forced to take jobs that do not work for them or their families. For this group, work is not just important for financial reasons, it can have wellbeing benefits and many single parents have told us they want to work to be a role model for their children. Yet the new requirements will give single parents no flexibility to look for jobs which really suit their skill set, motivations or family circumstances.
Further, for disabled parents, the changes coincide with the Government’s proposed Work Capability Assessment changes, increasing the demands placed upon them to take up jobs that may not work for them, particularly if they have fluctuating conditions.
Ahead of the Autumn Statement, we urge you to look again at the overall package for jobseekers and reverse the changes for lead carers.
We look forward to your response.
Victoria Benson, Chief Executive Officer, Gingerbread
Joeli Brearley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pregnant Then Screwed
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive Officer, Child Poverty Action Group
Claire Reindorp, Chief Executive Officer, Young Women’s Trust
Mark Russell, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society
Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education and Early Years
Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance
Matthew Upton, Acting Executive Director of Policy & Advocacy, Citizens Advice
Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive Officer, One Parent Families Scotland
Leigh Elliott, Chief Executive Officer, Children North East
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children UK
Jaine Stannard, Chief Executive Officer, School-Home Support
Laura Millar, Strategic Manager, Fife Gingerbread
Mandy Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, The Scottish Pantry Network
Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive Officer, Fawcett Society
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive Officer, Kids
Ruth Talbot, Founder, Single Parent Rights Campaign
Kate Bell, Assistant General Secretary, TUC
Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group
Maggie Gordon-Walker, Founder, Mothers Uncovered
Joseph Howes, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition
Abby Jitendra, Principal Policy Advisor, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
*Definition of lead carer: the person with the main childcare responsibilities (single parents are automatically lead carers).