Budget 2009: Campaigners attack 'disgraceful' £20 increase in child tax credit

Child tax credit will increase by just £20 a year from 2010

Child tax credit will increase by just £20 a year from 2010. The budget report said the extra funding for the means-tested benefit was "valuable support to families with children".

The chancellor said the government had been supporting families through tax credits and providing extra help for people suffering a loss of income. He said more people were working shorter weeks and seeing irregular work patterns and reduced wages, and those on lower incomes would get an automatic increase to compensate for loss of income.

He added that 355,000 families were receiving on average £35 a week more support through tax credits. According to the Treasury, nine out of 10 families with children and 1.5 million working people without children already qualify for tax credits.

But the £20 annual increase came as a bitter disappointment to campaigners and charities working to fight child poverty. "It works out at 38 pence a week, which will make absolutely no difference," said Hilary Fisher, director of End Child Poverty. "It is a shamefully small increase."

Fisher said increased benefits and tax credits to help struggling families buy food and basic items were a good way to help the UK's 3.9 million children living in poverty, and accused the government of lacking the will to put back on track the promise it made in 1997 to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020.

Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said the sum was "woefully small". "The money targeted on the children struggling most during the recession amounts to less each week than the cost of a pint of milk. It is disgraceful to give such a pittance," she said.

Darling also announced an increase in the government's contributions to child trust funds for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities will receive an extra £100 contribution each year while those with severe disabilities will receive £200 each.


Sandra Haurant and Amelia Gentleman

The GuardianTramp

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