Tens of thousands of Huddersfield children and their families could be hit be a benefits squeeze.
That’s the dire warning from The Children’s Society, who fear the cutbacks will start to hit families from April.
The charity has warned that more than 700,000 children in Yorkshire and the Humber live in families facing a four-year freeze to their benefits.
Almost two thirds of those affected in Yorkshire and the Humber – 469,000 children living in 247,000 families – live in working households who receive benefits to top-up low pay.
Freezing Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Job Seekers’ Allowance – rather than raising them in line with living costs – could see affected families losing up to 12% from the real value of their benefits and tax credits by 2020.
The study shows that 63, 200 families and 32,100 children in Kirklees could be hit. In Calderdale there are likely to be 28,900 families and 15,100 children affected.
The charity is urging the Government to reconsider its plan to freeze benefits and agree to a moratorium on further cuts in support for low-income families.
Officials have argued that while some changes, such as the introduction of a higher minimum wage, might increase household incomes by 2020, others will cancel out any gains by significantly cutting key support for many families.
Planned changes that threaten to make life harder for struggling families, aside from the benefits freeze, include limiting Child Tax Credits to a family’s first two children and scrapping the family element of Child Tax Credit. In addition, Universal Credit claimants may receive less support than they might have under other benefits.
Rob Jackson, Yorkshire Area Director for The Children’s Society, said: “Families on low incomes across Yorkshire and the Humber are facing a barrage of cuts.
“If ministers are genuinely concerned about child poverty they must reconsider plans to freeze benefits over the next four years. At the very least, the Government needs to guarantee there will be no further cuts when the Chancellor delivers his Budget next month.
“Austerity has hit families hard, including those in work. Further cuts to support would push more children into poverty and undermine incentives for families to move into work or earn more.”