The Board of Deputies and Charedi representatives from Stamford Hill, Manchester, Gateshead and Canvey Island met Welfare Delivery Minister Will Quince, to raise ongoing matters of concern in relation to the two-child welfare cap and housing benefit.
The Orthodox Jewish community has larger families than the average population. The economic uncertainties created by coronavirus have impacted all parts of society and given a harsh reminder that whatever plans people make, a family’s financial circumstances can change suddenly, with poverty, including child poverty, a real concern.
Particularly in Stamford Hill, the heart of London’s Charedi community, there is also a challenge in terms of the costs of housing. The group welcomed the Government’s adjustment of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for most areas, although shared concerns that there was still a gap between the allowance and actual costs, and that this had been exacerbated by some landlords exploiting the situation by raising rents. The group asked the Minister to look at addressing this disparity.
For some time, the Board of Deputies, the Interlink Foundation and the Jewish Community Council of Gateshead have been pressing the Government to scrap the two-child cap, while organisations like the Hershel Weiss Children and Family Centre in Manchester have sought to help families mitigate its impacts.
Today’s meeting was an opportunity to put concerns directly to the Minister, who explained the Government’s position, but committed to deepen engagement with the Jewish community over the issues and continue to review the policy areas discussed.
Following the meeting, Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker said:
“We are grateful to the Minister for taking the time to meet with us today. The two-child cap remains a matter of concern for us and we continue to urge the Government to scrap it. We will continue to work with Government and partners across the community – and particularly in the Haredi community – to find a more fair and just formula that supports families and tackles child poverty.”
Will Quince, the Minister for Welfare Delivery, commented:
“It was great to meet with the Board of Deputies of British Jews today to discuss their thoughts and recommendations, particularly in relation to Universal Credit. We are committed to maintaining our strong relationship with the Jewish community, and I look forward to engaging with them further in the future.”
The Jewish communal delegation consisted of: