A rethink of support for families in the UK necessary, says report

Monday 11th Dec 2023, 3.31pm

The future is grim from the perspective of struggling British families, according to a new study by a team from Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention led by Professor Mary Daly.

Uncertainty and pessimism about the future emerged strongly from the research, conducted earlier this year, which focused on 50 individuals from families with low resources in England and Scotland.

The UK prides itself as a family-friendly society, but if you are poor or living in hardship, family life is very compromised

Professor Mary Daly

People interviewed felt strongly the current policies do not offer sufficient support to families, especially in respect of children or caring responsibilities.  One example is the two-child benefit cap on Universal Credit.

Professor Daly says, ‘The UK prides itself as a family-friendly society, but if you are poor or living in hardship, family life is very compromised.’

She insists, ‘A rethink on the support for family and family life is necessary.  Government and other leaders need to ask themselves: Are we doing enough for families, especially those who are living with low resources?’

 The families in the study asked for:

  • Affordable and accessible childcare services available from an earlier age and in local areas,
  • Better services for older, ill or disabled adults.
  • Benefits that cover the real costs of family life,
  • More information and support for claimants, and
  • Training for staff in schools and public services, so they appreciate families’ difficulties.  

The report on the UK is part of the rEUsilience project: a European-wide research project focusing on understanding families’ differential capacities to respond to socio-economic and other risks and the resulting dilemmas and inequalities facing European families in a context of changing labour markets and welfare states.

Professor Daly’s report presents the analysis of the primary research conducted in the UK for Work Package 4 (WP4) of the project. See here https://reusilience.eu/publications/exploring-resilience-with-families-in-the-united-kingdom