Child poverty jumps to 4 million

Published on: 
16 March 2017

o Child poverty up to 4 million

o 100,000 more children went into poverty in 2015-16 after housing costs

o 67% of poor children are in working families

o Self-employed couples with children have a 30% risk of poverty

o 47% of lone parents’ children are poor

o London remains the area with the highest child poverty rate – at 37% (after housing costs) . But excluding housing costs, West Midlands and Northern Ireland have the highest child poverty rates regionally, each at 23%

o The IFS projects the number of children in relative poverty will rise by 1.2 million to 5.1 million by 2021-22 due to real-terms cuts in tax credits and work allowances. (1)

Responding to the Government’s annual poverty statistics which are published today (2) and show an increase in child poverty for the second year running, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said:

 “Today’s figures show that child poverty has increased to 4 million, a level we haven’t seen since 2007-8. The number of poor children in working families has reached 67%. The Prime Minister spoke about injustice on entering Downing Street but there is no greater burning injustice than children being forced into poverty as a result of government policy and no greater damage to our long term prosperity than failing to invest in our children.

“These figures are grim but, according to independent experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the outlook for the next few years is bleaker. Most worrying of all is that the Government seems to be in a state of denial. Last week’s Budget failed to mention poverty even once.

“The upward trend is clear: since 2010/11, 400,000 more children moved into poverty whether that is measured before or after housing costs.

“Child poverty is rising because ordinary families are stuck on low pay while living costs rise and family benefits are cut drastically. Help for struggling families has been a centrepiece of the Prime Minister’s speeches. But today’s figures suggest action is needed to follow through on the speeches – and urgently. The price of inaction is a generation of children with damaged life chances.”

Note to Editors:

(1) The IFS analysis is here

 2017-03(2)Households Below Average Income is published today by the Office for National Statistics