Austerity will have cast an extra 1.5m children into poverty by 2021.

Lone-parents, disabled children and ethnic minorities will be among worst-hit, says EHRC.

An extra 1.5 million children will have been pitched into poverty by 2021 as a consequence of the government’s austerity programme, according to a study of the impact of tax and benefit policy by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The EHRC study forecasts dramatic increases in poverty rates among children in lone parent and minority ethnic households, families with disabled children and households with three or more children.

There are clear winners and losers from austerity tax and benefits changes since 2010, the study says. The regressive nature of the policies means that low-income families have been hit hardest: the poorest fifth will lose 10% of income by 2021, while the wealthiest fifth will see little or no change.

David Isaac, chair of the EHRC, said: “It’s disappointing to discover that the reforms we have examined negatively affect the most disadvantaged in our society. It’s even more shocking that children – the future generation – will be the hardest hit and that so many will be condemned to start life in poverty.”

The commission called on the government to reconsider existing policies that hit the most disadvantaged groups hardest, and to review social security benefit levels to ensure they provide an adequate standard of living.

The study says the negative financial impacts are largely driven by the four-year freeze on working-age benefits from April 2016, cuts to disability benefits and reductions to work allowances in universal credit.

The findings include:

  • Children in 62% of lone parent households will be in poverty in 2021, compared to 37% in 2010. Lone parent households will lose an average of £5,250 – a fifth of their income.
  • The largest increases in child poverty measured by ethnic group will be in Pakistani families (up almost a fifth), while Bangladeshi households will lose £4,400 on average.
  • Households with a disabled adult and a disabled child will shoulder annual cash losses of just over £6,500, equivalent to 13% of their net income. Disabled lone parents with a disabled child stand to lose £10,000 a year.

The study, which was carried out by the economists Jonathan Portes and Howard Reed, examined the cumulative impact on different groups of changes to income tax, VAT, national insurance, social security benefits, tax credits, universal credit and the national living wage.

It concludes that although changes to taxes and benefits were a clear consequence of the government’s commitment since 2010 to reduce the deficit, it was not inevitable that the most vulnerable groups would bear the heaviest burden, and that the precise mix of changes was a political choice.

A government spokesperson said the report did not take into account many changes made since 2010. “Automatic enrolment pension saving and near record employment are just two issues which contribute enormously to people’s lives but are not reflected in the analysis,” they said.

Original story here:

Save the Family awarded monies from Waitrose Chester

This afternoon Save the Family received a cheque for £440 from Tracy Crump – Community Matters Champion at Waitrose Chester.
Save the Family were nominated for Waitrose’s Community Matters project by Peter Wood and Roger Davey from local band ‘Old School’.
We also received a £30 donation from Christleton WI.
Representing Save the Family were Dan Read (Events & Fundraising Coordinator and John Church (Chairman).

What to do if you see a homeless person sleeping rough in the snow

This week will be freezing, with parts of Britain feeling colder than the Arctic circle. For most of us, heavy snow is an inconvenience due to slippery pavements and the inevitable transport disruption.

If you don’t have a place to sleep, however, it can be deadly. Every time temperatures drop like this, rough sleepers risk their lives just trying to last the night, with the dangers only too real as the sad case of a man who froze to death in Birmingham before Christmas illustrates.

It’s natural to want to help if you see someone struggling – and they probably will appreciate the offer of a hot drink or some food. But what they really need is a place to get out of the rough weather – and you can provide this by alerting homelessness charity StreetLink to their location.

Emergency shelters have opened in London this week because of the cold, so the best thing you can do is make sure outreach volunteers know how to find anyone who may need them.

StreetLink A simple way to help someone who is homeless is to give the charity StreetLink details about when and where you saw them, so they know where to go on their patrols.

Volunteers go out every night in winter looking for people sleeping rough, to make contact with them and offer them a warm bed for the night.

The scheme is funded by charities including St Mungo’s, and cold periods like this week are an important time for a reminder.

StreetLink operates across England and Wales*, so you can get in touch with them about rough sleepers anywhere in these two countries. To make a report, give as much detail as possible about what the person looked like and the place where you saw them to help the outreach teams find them.

Your report could lead to a homeless person getting a warm bed for the night and allow them to receive long-term support back into accommodation and work.



How to help homeless people during the cold spell – and beyond

Emergency shelters have been opened for the homeless as freezing conditions and heavy snowfall hit the UK.

The special measures, which come into effect when temperatures plummet below zero, allow councils across Britain to offer extra accommodation for people living on the streets.

Charities warn that the extreme weather could be deadly for those forced to spend the night outside. They are urging members of the public to help assist those in need.

“Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous, but when temperatures drop, lives are at risk,” says Petra Salva, director of outreach services at St Mungo’s.

“It’s vital that we get help to people quickly so we can save lives, but also, in the longer term, find people permanent accommodation and the space to recover,” she adds.

Here’s how you can help:
  • If you see someone in need of urgent medical attention, dial 999 immediately.
  • Let rough sleepers know that emergency shelters are open as they may be unaware that the extra services are running.
  • Send an alert to Streetlink, a charity which connects rough sleepers in England and Wales to local agencies who can help find them a warm bed for the night.

You can do this on their websitemobile app, or by phoning 0300 500 0914. “It is important, if you have been able to speak to them, that you get their consent to do this,” says the Press Association, as some people may be uncomfortable giving their details to local authorities.

  • Give cash directly to homeless people, or offer to buy them a blanket, a cup of tea, or a hot meal. A friendly chat is always welcome, too.
  • You can also offer to donate money to charities working to end homelessness or volunteer and campaign with them directly. “Your power to help homeless people extends far beyond individual actions and encounters,” says the charity Shelter.

Half Term Fun


Our resident children have really enjoyed the half-term activities which included trips to Wepre Park, Storyhouse and Cathedral Falcons. It’s important for us to help the children and young people socialise and gain new experiences and memories while living at our residential site.

Good Governance

Recent unfortunate events in the charity sector have focused on the Governance and Risk Management measures required to protect charities from mismanagement and the associated  risks.  Charities have grown from the hard work of inspirational leaders that have the passion to help others in a wide variety of sectors and what is increasingly evident is that they need to be considered and run as businesses.  They need to be sure that they have strong governance and risk management in place as well as the necessary and appropriate policies.

At Save the Family, about 5 years ago when I took over as Chief Executive, as an early priority, I identified the need to strengthen  governance.  Whilst we had a strong board of trustees, I knew we had the opportunity to build on this.

Using my business experience I  introduced four new strategic Board Sub Committees, each to be chaired by an appropriate trustee and with at least two trustees on each committee.  These cover Finance & Audit, Marketing & Fundraising, HR and Health & Safety and very importantly a Families Sub Committee.  The trustees who chair these committees take ownership of the agenda and running of these committees and provide a strong level of assurance and understanding of the operational day to day work of the charity

Alongside good governance there also needs to be an effective Risk Management Assurance Plan in place to ensure that the Board are managing the key risks to the Charity.

When I stepped down as the Chief Executive and returned to the Board of Trustees as Chairman, it was important for me to reinforce the disciplines of the new governance structure and that has ensured that the risks exposed by the collapse of Kids Company and those currently being managed by Oxfam and Save the Children have been mitigated and avoided. Save the Family is often confused with Save the Children and we have no connection with Save the Children or the issues they may have recently encountered.

The supporters and funders of Save the Family can be assured that the charity is properly governed and well led by a strong Board of Trustees.  Funders also need to recognise that good governance is a necessary overhead and allow for this when examining the financial overheads of a well  governed charity.  Your continued support is very much valued and appreciated.

John Church


 We believe in keeping families together – do YOU?

Every rough sleeper is the product of political decisions. Stop criminalising them. By Dawn Foster @ The Guardian

It’s impossible to spend any stretch of time outside at the moment without noticing two things: the bitter cold and the seemingly unstinting rise in street homelessness. Winter is always the hardest period for rough sleepers because of the climate and the post-Christmas dip in generosity towards anyone begging. And there’s a genuine risk to life for anyone having to sleep out as temperatures plummet. The rise in tents appearing in Leeds, Manchester, all over London, and in many towns and cities across the country is an attempt to stave off the cold and sleep more safely.

Rough sleepers may find it comes at a cost, though. More than one in 10 councils have been found to use legislative powers to create public space protection orders, which means behaviour can be criminalised in certain areas. The powers are usually used to combat visible street homelessness: recent examples include Windsor, the borough castigated for seeking to clear homeless people out of the area to make way for the royal wedding, which proposes to fine people £100 on the spot for begging, leaving bedding in public or requesting money, and Stoke-on-Trent’s consultation on whether to fine people sleeping in car parks and doorways. Under a PSPO, anyone who fails to pay a £100 penalty could face a summary conviction and a £1,000 fine. Meanwhile, Westminster council has asked wealthier homeowners to pay a voluntary “tax” of around £833 to fund projects to help young people and combat the homelessness problem in the borough.

These initiatives come at the problem differently, but both start at the endpoint: by the time someone is on the streets, many opportunities to prevent their homelessness have been missed. The reason rough sleeper numbers have risen 169% since 2010 is because of a perfect storm created by this government: welfare cuts to individuals; austerity measures starving councils of resources; and now the rollout of universal credit, which has increased evictions and shrunk the amount of support available for peoplebefore or after they lose their home.

Focusing only on street homelessness is resource-intensive, and acts after the rough sleeper has already endured significant hardship and trauma. Acting before people are homeless makes far more sense, economically and for the long-term wellbeing of a household. Yet the rights of the landlord to collect rent are always put ahead of the person about to lose a roof over their head.

Supporting people to stay in their homes is surely a better method of reducing homelessness than acting after the fact. Homelessness is allowed to happen, and rough sleepers are then demonised: the public told not to offer change lest you feed a habit; homeless people abused or attacked in public, and then criminalised by councils and the police, as though a few legal threats will convince someone to stop sleeping in a tent in a park and instead rent a studio flat nearby.

It remains incredibly hard to get off the streets once you begin sleeping rough. For too long the government has behaved as though homeless people appear from nowhere. Every rough sleeper is the product of political decisions that have created a safety net riddled with gaping holes. No one wants to sleep outdoors in sub-zero temperatures, but far too many will, while politicians continue to cut welfare provision and bludgeon councils with austeritymeasures.

Clear links between deprivation, expenditure and quality in children’s services evidence shows

Paul Bywaters and Calum Webb unpack the links between deprivation and Ofsted ratings and say what it might mean for families

failure success

By Paul Bywaters and Calum Webb

The 2017 Ofsted Annual Report made the radical step of acknowledging that high-deprivation local authorities (LAs) were much less likely to be able to achieve a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgement than low-deprivation LAs.

This is a major break with the often repeated public position taken by politicians, the National Audit Office, the Department for Education (DfE) and Parliamentary Committees that neither deprivation nor expenditure affect the quality of services.

We wrote about these relationships in Community Care in January 2017, based on 107 local authorities’ Ofsted scores. Now the outcomes for all 152 LAs have been reported by Ofsted. These include the exceptionally small City of London and Isles of Scilly, which are excluded from this analysis.

A year ago we showed that high-deprivation LAs (in the highest third judged by the 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks) were significantly more likely than low-deprivation LAs (lowest third) to get a ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ judgement. Some argued that you get a different result if you divide LAs differently so this time we compare LAs in the most deprived 40% with the least deprived 40%.

Once again the outcome is the same: almost half of children in a low or very low-deprivation LA will be in a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ LA, more than double the proportion in high or very high-deprivation LAs.

Ofsted Judgement (%)
‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ All
Low or Very Low-Deprivation LAs 47 53 100
High or Very High-Deprivation LAs 23 77 100

So why is this evidence still controversial? First, some people look at these results and say ‘the low-deprivation, low-spend LAs are getting better Ofsted results so that proves that spend doesn’t matter’.

But, of course, low-deprivation LAs spend less because they face lower levels of need, and the funding formula recognises this. So what has to be looked at is the level of spend relative to the demands that LAs face and we would argue that this evidence suggests that the extra spend in deprived LAs is now insufficient.

Almost all LAs have faced cuts under austerity and there are variations between LAs, but the more deprived LAs have faced much bigger average reductions. Between 2010/11 and 2016/17 the most deprived 20% of LAs faced cuts of 27% in average population weighted total children’s services spend per child, after controlling for inflation. The least deprived 20% faced ‘only’ cuts of 4%.

Second, another version of this argument is to say, ‘some high or very high-deprivation LAs get a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted, so why can’t all of them?’ It’s a matter of leadership not expenditure’.

It’s true that overall expenditure per child seems to make little difference to Ofsted judgements in low or very low-deprivation LAs. But in high or very high-deprivation LAs, those that got a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ were spending around 20% more per child on average, in the year before the latest inspection round started, than those awarded ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

Annual Average CS spend per child, 2013-14
‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’
Low or Very-Low Deprivation LAs £670 £680
High or Very-High Deprivation LAs £1135 £956

Of the 14 deprived LAs which got a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted only one had a level of spend per child below the average for all LAs. So, of course, deprivation isn’t the only factor but the evidence continues to say that it is a very significant one.

Third, don’t some high-spend, low-deprivation LAs get poor Ofsted judgements? Of the 32 low or very-low deprivation LAs which received a ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ judgement, only three spent more per child than the average for all LAs, and those only by a small margin.

Just as deprivation isn’t the only factor nor is expenditure, but there is clear evidence of a pattern that links deprivation, expenditure and quality and that should be faced.

Why does this matter? As the DfE itself argues, all children should get equally good services. Equality of service provision is a matter of social justice. There is widespread acknowledgement that there is currently substantial variation in children’s services but many deny that this systematically reflects – in part – deprivation or austerity.

Second, it matters because of the current debate about the overall level of spending on children’s services. The LGA have estimated a £2bn shortfall in current annual expenditure, which is expected to get worse during the remainder of this Parliament, and be exacerbated by the planned but uncertain changes in how LAs are funded.

The pattern of Ofsted judgements suggests that high-deprivation LAs, in particular, need to have restored some of the money cut since 2010, but rising demand is affecting all LAs.

Responding to austerity

Third, it matters because of the way cash-strapped LAs are responding to austerity. Many feel that the best thing to do would be to prevent more children from experiencing abuse or neglect and the costly services that result. But in practice since 2010 it is family support and early help services that have been cut substantially while expenditure on looked-after children and safeguarding services has risen.

Effectively there has been an unspoken, undiscussed policy change, which is rebalancing services away from family support at a time when families have faced exceptional pressures. In 2010 almost half of all children’s services spend went on supporting families, with the other half on Safeguarding and Looked-After Children (LAC) services. Now, child protection and LAC dominate with over 70% of total spend.

Finally, the same arguments about deprivation and money not mattering are applied by some to assessments of families. Political and practice judgements about parenting are too often disconnected from whether parents have sufficient, secure income, work and housing to do a good enough job.

Again it’s not just about children’s services spending: policies on universal credit, benefits caps and sanctions, on the bedroom tax, on families with no recourse to public funds, on zero hours contracts, on house building, the NHS and third-sector services can all interact to create problems for families and moral dilemmas for children’s services. Austerity is badly affecting both families and LAs. It’s time for a change.


Paul Bywaters is a professor of social work Huddersfield University, Calum Webb is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield.

Original document:

Do your own fundraising

Save the Family are expecting 2018 to be our busiest year to date and as part of this we’re aiming to raise £250,000! It’s a huge challenge which is why we need YOUR help!

Why don’t you run your own fundraising event!?

If you’d like to contribute in any way find out how by emailing