Low-income parents relying on child benefit for household basics

Date: 22nd September 2020
Category: Child poverty


A recent survey has showed an increase in the number of parents relying on child benefit to cover utility bills and other household costs. Thirty-seven percent said they would not manage without the payment.

The findings come from a survey of 1,000 parents who were in receipt of child benefit in summer 2020, compared with findings from a similar survey conducted in 2012.  

Key survey findings 2020:

  • 28% of parents receiving child benefit said they now spend it on day-to-day living or general expenses, up from 2% in 2012
  • 14% reported spending child benefit on bills, up from 4% in 2012
  • 33% are spending it on food, up from 26% in 2012
  • 15% of parents are spending child benefit on baby products/formula milk/nappies/wipes, compared to 9% in 2012
  • 23% are spending it on clothes or shoes for their children, down from 51% in 2012.

Child Poverty Action Group notes that child benefit has lost 23% of its value since 2010 due to freezes and increases that have been below the rate of inflation. The charity and others are calling for a £10 weekly increase in child benefit to ensure parents can protect their children from hardship, particularly in the face of additional financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.