Spring Statement: not even a glimmer at the end of the tunnel for working families locked into poverty

Responding to the Chancellor's Spring Statement, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said:

“The Chancellor said that there is cause for optimism in his economic forecasts and there is light at the end of the tunnel. But for millions of working families locked in poverty, today’s forecasts suggest there is not even a glimmer.

“The OBR has forecast average earnings in real terms will still be below their 2008 level in 2023 – a full 15 years of sluggish wage growth. At a time when costs have been rising and tax credits have been cut, more working families have been pulled into a rising tide of poverty.

“We know low income families have faced huge sacrifices as part of efforts to tackle the deficit. Cuts to tax credits alone – which ease the constraints low pay places on families – have left a working couple on the National Living Wage with two kids £600 a year worse off since 2010.

“We share a moral responsibility to ensure that everyone in our country has a decent standard of living and the same chances in life. The Chancellor had the opportunity to loosen the constraints of poverty by allowing struggling families to keep more of what they earn under Universal Credit.

“We urge him to put things right for struggling families by restoring work allowances in Universal Credit. This would boost living standards for three million families and prevent 340,000 people being swept into poverty.”