Action for Children’s director of policy and campaigns, Imran Hussain, said:

“This should have been a Spending Review about lives, livelihoods and life chances. Like every other spending review of the past decade, children have been put to the back of the queue, today. And like every other spending review of the past decade, the effect of this short-sighted approach will be seen in rising child poverty and greater pressure on a whole range of public services including schools, the NHS and council-run child protection services.

“Poverty-producing policies and the pandemic mean a new wave of families have been thrown into financial uncertainty, with ever-growing numbers of parents losing jobs, having their pay cut, or being furloughed. Action for Children’s key workers have been relentlessly delivering life-changing support to families – all while frontline children’s services are at breaking point, school budgets are under pressure and unemployment continues to soar.

“It’s not right that low-income families face a £1000 cut to their Universal Credit help from next year – adding even more stress to a second lockdown, the arrival of winter and with Christmas around the corner. The Government must put this right now to prevent a generation of children from being scarred by poverty and the pandemic, which would carry significant long term costs to the public finances.”