BASW UK launches anti-poverty campaign
BASW UK has launched a campaign against poverty, which includes three asks of the UK Government to provide greater financial security for people being hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis.
Earlier this month, BASW UK wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to uprate benefits in line with inflation, which was confirmed by the Chancellor at the Autumn Statement.
The three issues that BASW will be campaigning on are:
1. Extend the debt breathing space scheme to 180 days
As poverty worsens, debt increases. The breathing space scheme is a ‘pause’ on action and contact from creditors that also prevents interest, fees, penalties, or charges being added for a 60-day period. There is also a mental health breathing space that can last as long as the crisis treatment lasts plus 30 days. There were 6,342 Breathing Space registrations in October 2022, which is 31% higher than the number registered in October 2021. 6,230 were Standard breathing space registrations, which is 31% higher than in October 2021, and 112 were Mental Health breathing space registrations, which is 38% higher than the number in October 2021.
2. Freeze evictions during the cost-of-living crisis to prevent further homelessness
Reducing income and increasing demands from landlords will translate into more evictions and more families becoming homeless. This cannot be allowed to happen and would cause untold damage to adults and children, placing many at safeguarding risk and lead to even more demand on social care and other services.
3. Scrap the two-child cap on benefits
At present, relevant benefits are only paid for the first two children. This impacts on many families but disproportionally impacts on those ethnic groups who have larger families. It also results in inhumane means testing, for example, the rape clause.
Social workers in the UK are increasingly working exclusively with people whose problems are rooted in or exacerbated by worsening poverty and its consequences – poor housing, nutrition, mental and physical health, social exclusion and downward spirals of experiences that blight the potential of adults and children. This includes in-work poverty and unfeasibly low disability benefits.
During the campaign, BASW UK will seek to influence politicians to support our campaign asks, provide members with information and resources and reach out to the profession to amplify social work’s voice.
We will soon publish ways that members can get involved in the campaign.
If you have any questions about the campaign, please contact Kerri.Prince@basw.co.uk