/ News from Westminster
/ The new welfare system must help the poorest working mums
The MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy, is supporting Save the Children’s campaign to make sure the new Universal Credit benefit system supports mums in Bristol to find work so they can provide for their children.
Universal Credit is designed to help parents get work that pays better than benefits. It will help many families, but more money is need to make sure all parents who want to work their way above the poverty line get the help they need. The proposed benefit changes and lack of support for childcare risk pushing many children deeper into poverty, and making it harder for some parents to move off benefits and into work. Many single mums and second earners in couples will be worse off under the new system.
To fix this problem, the charity’s new Mums United campaign is calling on the Treasury to find the extra money needed to make sure single mums keep more of their earned income before they lose benefits, and get support with childcare costs.
Female unemployment has recently topped 1m, while mothers already struggling to support their children have suffered cuts to childcare support, child benefit and tax credits. A new poll by Save the Children and Netmums found that 56% of mums said the main thing stopping them from taking a job or making them consider giving up work is the cost of childcare.
“Mums in Bristol who want to work so they can provide for their kids should get help to do so,” said Kerry. "I believe getting more mums in the workplace is crucial to bringing children out of poverty and boosting the economy in Bristol East. That’s why I’ve signed up to this campaign to make work pay for the poorest mums in the Budget.”
Universal Credit will begin to replace the current benefits and tax credit system from October 2013. To make sure it delivers for all mums, Save the Children is calling for more money in three key areas:
• Raise the amount that single mums can earn before they start to lose benefits;
• Raise the amount that second earners can keep before they start to lose benefits to £2000, like main breadwinners;
• Increase support for childcare costs for low income families from the current level of 70% to 80%, to make sure mums are not priced out of work.