citizens advice bureau
by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

From Citizens Advice Bureau

The rules for Working Tax Credit for couples with children will change from the beginning of April this year, which could lead to some families losing £3870 a year. Currently, couples must work a combined total of 16 hours a week to be entitled to Working Tax Credit – but will be increased to 24 hours from April 1st. Consequently, the family will lose their entitlement if they cannot pick up an extra 8 hours of work between them.

Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau (BCABS) are concerned that in a time of rising unemployment, parents will struggle to pick up extra hours, which will have a negative impact on children in the household.

Emma Middleton, Operations Manager at BCABS says: “we understand the need for reform, but we are concerned that the most vulnerable people in Birmingham will suffer. Although we encourage people to increase their hours where possible, it is easier said than done in the current economic climate – and if a family loses in excess of £3000 per year, the children will feel it.”

Child poverty is a serious issue in Birmingham. According to recent figures from the Campaign to end Child Poverty, 36% of children and young people in Birmingham are already living in poverty. The situation is even worse in Aston, Nechells and Sparkbrook wards, where more than half of children and young people are affected. It is estimated that the changes will lead to 6605 families losing Working Tax Credits – affecting 21,465 more children across Birmingham.

BCABS are encouraging people affected to seek advice: either by coming into one of the bureaux, or by calling the telephone advice line on 08444 771010.

If you are affected by these changes, Northfield CAB offers a drop in service:

734-740 Bristol Road South, Northfield B31 2NN
Monday 9.30 – 6.30
Wednesday 9.30 – 12.00
Friday 9.30 – 6.30 

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