Web links for 4th January 2012
Research by the IFS for the Family and Parenting Institute looks at likely poverty rates and incomes for different family types up to 2015. Families with children will see the biggest fall in income – down 4.2% in the 5 years to 2015; incomes for families without children will fall 0.9%. Families with children younger than 5 or with more than 2 children, and unemployed lone parents will suffer most. Half a million families with children under 5 will fall into absolute poverty by 2015-16 and the benefit changes are an important cause – though this will be partly offset by the introduction of Universal Credit.
Survey by Save the Children finds that 54% of all parents are worried their children’s health will suffer because their house is too cold this winter; 59% are having to cut back on other essentials to afford their fuel bills this winter; half of all families plan to turn the heating off for longer to keep their bills down. Cold, damp homes can cause developmental and chronic health problems for children. Rising energy costs are particularly tough for low-income families but energy companies are drastically under-funding the government’s Warm Homes Discount scheme that provides a discount of up to £140. The government only requires the energy companies to fund the scheme for poor pensioners – support for poor families with children is discretionary and hundreds of thousands don’t receive it.