Today (19 June 2013) a letter to the Editor of The Times from a number of charities, including Cruse, was published in the newsletter. Our letter raises awareness of the cuts to Widowed Parents Allowance. We said:
At any age, the death of one’s mother or father brings change and challenge. For a young child, it brings a bewildering range of powerful feelings and changed routines, and often further painful losses. The care and support of their other parent is crucial in helping them adapt to a radically changed life. The current system of Widowed Parents’ Allowance allows parents the flexibility to provide this support, with weekly payments until the youngest child no longer qualifies for Child Benefit.
This support system is under threat: the government has included proposals for radical reform of bereavement benefit in the Pensions Bill, proposing to pay it for just one year. We estimate that 90% of new claimants would be worse off under the proposed new scheme, and those with younger children – who can currently make longer claims – will be particularly badly affected. Amid the discussions about second-tier pensions and the State Pension age, let us not forget that thousands of grieving children each year will be affected by the changes proposed.
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Patron, Childhood Bereavement Network
Debbie Kerslake, Chief Executive, Cruse Bereavement Care
Ann Chalmers, Chief Executive, Child Bereavement UK
Alison Penny, Coordinator, Childhood Bereavement Network
Georgia Elms, Chair, WAY Widowed and Young
Catherine Ind, Acting Chief Executive, Winston’s Wish
Judith Moran, Director, Quaker Social Action
Caroline Davey, Director of Policy, Advice and Communications, Gingerbread
Anthony Thomas, Chairman, Low Incomes Tax Reform Group
Helen Shaw, Co-Director, INQUEST