CCS: 'cuts will impact most on children and families'

Dr Rosemary Keenan

Dr Rosemary Keenan

In June the Chancellor took £11 billion out of welfare and in the spending review last week a further £7 billion was cut.  The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that, leaving aside the richest 2% of the population, the poorest would be hit hardest by the tax and benefit components of the Chancellor’s plan.

Dr Rosemary Keenan, CEO of the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) is concerned about the impact of the proposed cuts on children and their families.

“There is a perception that poor children have feckless, irresponsible parents who are lazy and won’t work,” she said. “The reality is that one third of the nation’s children live in poverty, as defined by the government’s own criteria.  60% of these children live in households where one or both parents are working and still need state support to get by.”

London Councils have estimated that 83,000 households may have to move out of London because rents are so high and cuts to housing benefits will mean families will no longer be able to afford them.  Rosemary Keenan said, “The impact of such disruption upon the health and education of children and the loss of support from extended families, friends and organisations, such as ours will be considerable.”  She continued, “There is a government aspiration that the ‘Big Society’ will step in to rescue children and families in need but the charitable sector itself is being hit by cuts in public expenditure just when our services are needed most.”

Concern about the impact of public expenditure cuts on charities and their ability to help those in need has been voiced by Dame Suzi Leather, the Chairman of the Charity Commission who has pointed out that hundreds of charities are threatened by the cuts to public expenditure.  Commenting on this Rosemary Keenan said, “Even delivering services with volunteers comes at a cost.  Volunteers need to be recruited, CRB checked, trained, supervised, timetabled to deliver services, insured, and so on.  The need for Catholic individuals and parishes to support the poor and needy, through support to Catholic charities that work with them, is greater now than ever.”

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