Many of the changes taking place as part of the welfare reforms have serious implications for Perennial’s clients. With the phasing in of Universal Credit, which replaces existing benefits, many people of working age will see the amount of money they receive decrease.
Families are unfortunately one group potentially now worse off. In April this year a policy was introduced that limits Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit to the first two children in a family (for children born after 6th April 2017). It is believed that around 900,000 families will be affected by this policy once it has fully rolled out, with an aim to save £3 billion a year from the welfare budget.
The Government states that the measure is designed to make things fairer and to bring these benefits in line with those who are working and receive no increase in their wages for choosing to have more than two children. For the first time the link between need and entitlement has been broken. It is widely believed this will further increase child poverty.
Disabled child elements are not affected and there are various other exceptions. Child benefit is not currently affected by the two child limit, however the ruling does affect housing benefit so a personal allowance may not be payable for a third or subsequent child.
Sheila Thomson, Perennial’s Director of Services comments: “Working in an industry that is usually low paid and often seasonal, Perennial clients frequently have to rely on the extra support that in-work benefits can bring and so are particularly vulnerable. These changes place an additional burden on those who are already struggling to make ends meet. The publicity around these changes was minimal and many individuals were not aware of what was happening and are confused by the changes. We have seen an increase in clients seeking additional support from Perennial as they navigate their way through the system.”
Perennial helps people working in all areas of the horticulture industry when they are facing challenging times, and that includes offering advice on eligibility for benefits as well as help with applying and claiming.
For confidential help and advice contact Perennial on firstname.lastname@example.org