Benefit changes to bring child poverty to Don and Dearne?

CHILDREN will be plunged in to poverty when changes to Working Tax Credit come in to force in April, a charity has warned.

Families in Mexborough and across the Dearne could be among those to suffer most, as couples who currently work 16 hours to qualify for the benefit worth £3,870 a year, are told they must work 24 hours to receive it in the future.

The recession, coupled with childcare issues will make this requirement impossible for the majority of affected families, claims the Child Poverty Action Group.

Local councillors agree. Dearne North Coun Janice Hancock said: “People are struggling to get by. The work isn’t there, and if it was families would still face problems over childcare.

“This government is not living in the real world. You need to live here to know how hard it is for people.

“The one thing that matters has been taken away from young people and that’s hope - hope of getting work, hope of getting a house. All we can do is to shout as much as we can for them”.

The chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said; “This change will pull the rug from under the feet of hundreds of thousands of families desperately trying to make ends meet. It’s inevitable that many children will be thrown in to poverty.

“Imagine how hard it will be on low pay, with low hours and kids to take care of, when suddenly up to £70 a week gets taken away.

“The sensible thing to do is for David Cameron to put this on hold, or it will mean many families are no longer better off in work”.

Government statistics reveal the changes will affect 420 families and 840 kids in Doncaster North constituency, including Mexborough. In Wentworth and Dearne, taking in Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe, Bolton, Swinton, Rawmarsh and Wath, there are 415 affected families with 655 children. Another 360 families and 750 youngsters will suffer in Barnsley East, including Wombwell and Darfield, and in Don Valley, with Conisbrough and Denaby, 455 kids and 220 families stand to lose out.