‘Parents have to cut back on food, heating and other essentials because of government cuts’

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Thousands of families across Hemel Hempstead and South West Herts are having to cut back on spending on food, heating and other essentials because of government cuts.

That is the claim of a new report produced by End Child Poverty, a coalition of more than 150 charities, faith groups and social justice groups.

They blame the issue on the government failing to increase Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit in line with the cost of living over the last three years.

David Holmes CBE, chairman of End Child Poverty, said: “It is deeply worrying that parents are having to cut back on food, heating and other essentials that their children need in order to develop and thrive.

“The new government needs to seize the opportunity in the Queen’s Speech to stop the rise in child poverty. During the election campaign David Cameron promised not to cut Child Benefit, now is the time for him to keep that pledge.”

The report claims that 6,200 families in Hemel Hempstead, and 10,900 children, plus 4,100 families and 7,000 children in South West Herts, are currently affected by Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit being increased below inflation.

As a result the coalition wants the government to introduce the same ‘triple lock’ for child benefits that the state pension enjoys.

This would mean child benefits rise in line with prices, earnings, or by 2.5 per cent, whichever is the highest.

Mr Holmes added: “We think it is vital that child benefits keep pace with the cost of living and that the government gives them the same protection as the state pension. This is an opportunity to be bold and to invest in our children’s future.”