Editorial: Families should be the focus of welfare spending

Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:

MPs and peers will be heading back to Westminster on Monday as Parliament returns from summer recess. As social distancing measures have come to an end, Parliament will look and sound much more like normal.

Judging by press coverage over the past few weeks, there is no shortage of matters to debate. One of the sticking points is likely to be the future of the £20 uplift for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits. The policy was introduced at the start of the pandemic but is set to end this month.

The Catholic Union has called for overall spending on welfare to be maintained this year – either by keeping the uplift in place or spending the equivalent amount on tax breaks and welfare support for families.

There is no denying that this will be expensive for the Treasury – with the uplift estimated to cost £6 billion per year. But with family breakdown estimated to cost taxpayer over £50 billion, supporting struggling families is a price worth paying.