4 million children now living in poverty in the UK

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The Households Below Average Income figures for 2015/6 released today show that child poverty now stands at the highest level since 2009/10, with 4 million children in the UK now living in relative poverty. The figures also show that in-work poverty continues to rise, and now stands at 67 percent. Regional child poverty rates are shown in the table below.

After sustained falls in child poverty in the last decade, the Institute for Fiscal Studies projects that child poverty will rise to around 5 million children by 2020.

This trend of rising child poverty is of serious concern, especially in the context of rising inflation – with costs of living now expected to rise by around 4% in the coming year. End Child Poverty’s ‘Feeling the pinch’ report found that overall prices are expected to rise by around 35% between 2010 and 2020, whereas Child Benefit, a key form of support for families with children, is expected to rise by just 2% over the same period. An out-of-work single parent family will be £2800 a year worse off by 2020.

Sam Royston, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition, said “Rising child poverty is a blight on our country, and is projected to rise further in the next few years. Families are really feeling the pinch – and these figures confirm that the government needs to do more to support families on a low income.


End Child Poverty calls for urgent action to turn the tide on child poverty. We are calling on the government to support families who are struggling with stagnating income and rising prices. Ending the freeze on children’s benefits is a crucial first step.”


Region % of children living below 60% median income, after housing costs
  England 29
     North East 28
     North West 30
     Yorkshire and the Humber 29
     East Midlands 29
     West Midlands 33
     East of England 25
     London 37
         Inner 42
         Outer 34
     South East 25
     South West 26
  Wales 30
  Scotland 23
  Northern Ireland 26
All children 30





Notes to editors


  1. The Household Below Average Income figures for the period to 2014/15 are released today, 16 March 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201516


  1. 4 million children are now living in the UK (after housing costs are taken into account).


  1. The Office for Budget Responsibility has renewed their inflation forecasts. Last autumn they had expected prices to rise by 3.3% in 2017/18. The new forecast put this substantially higher, at 3.9%.


  1. End Child Poverty’s ‘Feeling the pinch’ research (http://localhost:8888/endchildpoverty/images/Feelingthepinch/ECP-FeelingThePinch-final-report.pdf) indicated that overall prices are expected to rise by around 35% between 2010 and 2020. In contrast Child Benefit, a key form of support for families with children, is expected to rise by just 2% over the course of the decade – just one eighteenth of the rate it would need to in order to keep up with costs of living.


For example, in April 2010, benefit income for an out of work single parent with 2 children (excluding housing costs) was around £198 per week.  In order to keep up with rises in costs of living by 2020, this would need to rise to around £267 per week. Their actual 2020 income would be expected to be around £214 per week. The real loss of £53 per week will leave this family worse off by around £2800 per year.


  1. The table of regional data is taken from Table 4.6db: Percentage of children in low-income groups by various family and household characteristics, United Kingdom, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201516


  1. The Campaign to End Child Poverty (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of more than 100 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty. These include Child Poverty Action Group, The Children’s Society, Family Action, Buttle UK, Barnardo’s, 4Children, Contact a Family, Gingerbread, Oxfam, Action for Children, TUC, Family and Childcare Trust, Save the Children, and the National Children’s Bureau. End Child Poverty campaigns to achieve our vision by: Ensuring the voices of families facing economic disadvantage are heard; Increasing understanding of the causes and impacts of child poverty and mobilising public support and action; Promoting to politicians and government the case for ending child poverty by 2020, the actions that will achieve it and holding them to account on the requirements of the Child Poverty Act.


  1. You can get in touch with the End Child Poverty coalition by emailing kate@endchildpoverty.org.uk or on 07918 567577.








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