Coronavirus has turned the lives of families with children upside down. Millions of parents have lost jobs, or been furloughed with few guarantees of a job to return to. Schools and childcare facilities have largely been closed since the start of the pandemic, and many parents have been facing the almost impossible task of trying to work from home while also providing childcare and home-schooling.
These challenges are more acute in low-income families. Research has shown that the livelihoods of low-income workers are more at risk than the livelihoods of those in higher-paid roles, with many lower-paid workers employed in the sectors that have been bearing the brunt of the economic crisis.
In the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, which has also become an economic crisis, the government has acted quickly to safeguard people’s jobs. The Job Retention Scheme (JRS), in particular, has shielded many families from the worst impacts of the pandemic. The government has also made some important changes to the social security system which have provided a much-needed boost to household incomes at a time when many families are struggling.
However, there has been no targeted financial support for families with children, other than the provision of free school meal (FSM) vouchers, which only partially replaced an existing scheme. The increases in benefits made to date do not take into account family size, with single adults receiving the same increases as those with children. And there has been little recognition of the specific financial and non-financial pressures facing families with children.
To understand the financial impact of coronavirus on low-income families first hand, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England (CofE) conducted a survey, hosted on the Entitledto benefits calculator website. Families’ testimonies of what life has been like during the pandemic provide an important insight into the day-to-day struggles many have been dealing with, as well as showing their strength and resilience in managing such an array of challenges on a limited income.
To download the full report please click on the link below: