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Benefit levels

Costs and spending on decent childhoods

04 September 2019
The new school year is underway after the long summer break. This can be an expensive time for families. Most parents will have faced significant costs in recent weeks, from holiday childcare to new school uniforms. But to what extent are different families able to meet those costs? Every year for the past eight years, we have published research on what it costs to raise children from birth to age 18. This year the research coincides with the Spending Review, and puts a spotlight on how the government does support, and how it should support, families with the extra costs of children.

The Cost of a Child in 2019

04 September 2019
Our annual Cost of a Child report this year finds that the overall cost of a child up to age 18 (including rent and childcare) is £185,000 for lone parents (up 19% since 2012) and £151,000 for couples (up 5.5% since 2012). The gap between lone parents’ actual income and what they need to meet family needs has grown sharply: lone parents working full time for the so-called national living wage ('NLW') are 21% (£80 a week) short of what they need – after paying for rent, childcare and council tax - a gap that has more than doubled from 10% since 2012.

Living Hand to Mouth now free to access

03 September 2019
Thanks to funding from UCL Innovation and Enterprise’s Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund, supported by HEIF, Living Hand to Mouth is now available to download and read for free. 

Living Hand to Mouth

27 August 2019
Living Hand to Mouth, by Rebecca O’Connell, Abigail Knight and Julia Brannen, brings the latest research on food poverty together with the voices of children and young people experiencing food poverty first hand.

The ‘Other Britain’

12 July 2019
A little over a century ago, the cry among social reformers concerned about the plight of the poor was for a safety net to be stitched together by the state, to catch any of our fellow citizens who were falling into the clutches of destitution. Had those same reformers witnessed what we have picked up during the past six months – from visits to food banks in Poplar, Waterloo, Leicester, Morecambe, Chester, and Glasgow – they would be appalled by the extent of hunger, homelessness, and insecurity afflicting so many families and vulnerable individuals in our country.

Universal credit: what needs to change

05 June 2019
Universal credit: what needs to change to reduce child poverty and make it fit for families? calls for design and funding changes to improve claimants’ experience of universal credit and to reduce child poverty.

Living Hand to Mouth

19 April 2019
Over four million children in Britain are growing up in poverty, with many at risk of going without nutritious or adequate food. As poverty has risen, families with children are among the hardest hit. Based on the first-hand accounts of 51 children, Living Hand to Mouth by researchers at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education shines a spotlight on what children say about food and how they manage their everyday lives around food.

Two-child limit will tip 300,000 more children into poverty – new research for the policy’s two-year anniversary today

06 April 2019
On today’s two-year anniversary of the two-child limit, new research for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows 300,000 more children will be in poverty as a result of the policy by the time universal credit is fully rolled out in 2023-2024 (1). The policy, which restricts child allowances in universal credit and tax credits to the first two children in a family, has so far hit an estimated 150,000 families with children aged under two.

Why food is not the answer to hunger in the UK

05 April 2019
In a week when CPAG has published the brilliant new book Living hand to mouth – children and food in low income families by Rebecca O’Connell, Abigail Knight and Julia Brannen, it might seem strange to suggest that food is not the solution to hunger.

Children growing up in poverty endure hunger and shame

03 April 2019
Children in low-income families are going hungry and are being exposed to feelings of shame and social exclusion because of lack of money and food, new research from UCL, published by Child Poverty Action Group shows.