Impact on Families
48. In 2012, Action for Children, the NSPCC and The Children’s Society commissioned a study to consider the impact change to the tax and benefit system will have on families (Reed 2012). As part calculating the number of children and families, who may be considered vulnerable, Reed took several factors into account:
- Worklessness – no parent in the family is in work;
- Housing – the family lives in poor quality and/or overcrowded housing;
- Qualifications – no parent in the family has any academic or vocational qualifications;
- Mental health – the mother has mental health problems;
- Illness/disability – at least one parent has a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity;
- Low income – the family has low income (below 60% of the median);
- Material deprivation – the family cannot afford a number of food and clothing items.
(Reed 2012, p.6)
49. These are the same set of indicators or factors present in the lives of many children experiencing neglect as identified in a recent review of literature on neglected children by Daniel, Taylor and Scott (2010). Living with any number of these factors does not mean a child is being neglected. However, the more factors present in a child’s life does increase the likelihood of neglect – a ‘single whammy’ for children.
50. Reed’s calculations found that the changes to the tax and benefit systems will disproportionately hit the most vulnerable families. Overall, the negative impact is perversely greater for families with more vulnerabilities, particularly affecting families with four or more vulnerabilities present in their lives – a ‘double whammy’ for children.
51. Moreover, these families may depend more on public services than other families, and their children are likely to be more affected by cuts to provision – a ‘triple whammy’ for children.