End Child Poverty Responds to HBAI Release 2021

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Government’s own data shows high levels of child poverty across the UK, with no plan in place to reduce this

Government data shows 3.9 million children living in poverty (after housing costs) between April 2020 and April 2021, that is 27% of all children

  • This is a reduction of 400,000 from the previous year, this decrease is over the same period that the government invested in the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, which has now been withdrawn
  • Other data released today, which shows poverty levels before housing costs, shows that in some parliamentary constituencies over half of all children are living in poverty


Government data released today, 31st March 2022, shows that during the Financial Year ending in 2021 there was a staggering 3.9 million children living in relative low income families across the UK – after housing costs. That is 27% of all children are growing up in families who cannot afford the basics.


This figure is a reduction of 400,000 children from the previous year – as a result of the government’s £20 uplift to Universal Credit payments. However, this uplift has now been withdrawn meaning these families only experienced a temporary reprieve from living in poverty.


The Households Below Average Income data[1] released by the Department for Work and Pensions records the number of households in the UK falling into poverty. Poverty is defined as household income below 60% of median income.


This data release comes just days after the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Announcement which was devoid of measures to help the poorest families. There is no child poverty reduction plan in government, or roadmap for reducing levels of child poverty. Child poverty reduction measures were also missing from the recent Levelling Up White Paper.


Joseph Howes, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition said. “The UK is a society that values fairness, yet it is not fair that 3.9 million children are growing up in poverty. Poverty can impact every aspect of a child’s life – children could be living in temporary housing, missing meals, unable to take part in paid for school activities and going without warm clothes in cold weather.


“These statistics show us that it is possible for the government to lift struggling families out of poverty. The £20 uplift did just that for around 400,000 children. Yet these families only experienced a temporary reprieve from poverty, as the uplift has been withdrawn and benefit payments won’t be rising with inflation.


“The government must urgently look to implement an effective strategy for child poverty reduction, to ensure that we are not reviewing these statistics next year only to see them rising again.”


An End Child Poverty Youth Ambassador aged 17 said “It is worrying that so many children are living in poverty but unfortunately it is not surprising. The cost of living is going up which is going to make it even harder for families such my own. We have multiple people with disabilities, people don’t realise how much more it costs for them. If you need to use an electric wheelchair for everything that is an additional cost for electricity. By the costs rising we are almost taxing disabled people in poverty. Young people – like me! – are worried about our futures and sometimes it feels like we are being set up to fail.”


Alongside this data the government has also published information on which local authority and constituency areas have highest levels of child poverty[2]. Although this data does not include housing costs.


Shockingly this data does reveal that in some areas across the UK around half of all children are living in relative poverty – before housing costs.


Local Authority areas with the 10 highest levels of relative child poverty from across the UK can be found in the table below:


Local Authority Number of children
FYE 2021
Percentage of children
FYE 2021
Middlesbrough 12,698 42.4%
Bradford 48,549 38.0%
Pendle 7,087 36.3%
Oldham 19,278 36.2%
Birmingham 91,470 35.6%
Blackburn with Darwen 11,742 34.0%
Kingston upon Hull, City of 17,448 33.4%
Stoke-on-Trent 17,471 33.2%
Sandwell 24,453 32.7%
Manchester 36,583 32.5%



Westminster constituency areas with the 10 highest levels of relative child poverty from across the UK can be found in the table below:



Westminster Parliamentary Constituency Number of children
FYE 2021
Percentage of children
FYE 2021
Birmingham, Hodge Hill 19,222 51.3%
Bradford West 15,392 50.0%
Middlesbrough 10,074 47.9%
Bradford East 15,587 47.0%
Birmingham, Ladywood 15,363 47.0%
Birmingham, Hall Green 12,599 44.6%
Newcastle upon Tyne Central 9,080 42.3%
Oldham West and Royton 10,290 40.2%
Bolton South East 10,240 39.9%
Birmingham, Yardley 10,875 38.7%




Notes to editors


  1. The End Child Poverty coalition (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of around 80 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, Buttle UK, Gingerbread, Oxfam GB, Action for Children, TUC, Save the Children, and the National Children’s Bureau.


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


  1. Each year End Child Poverty publishes further statsitics which include the cost of housing compares with local authority boundries, and parliamentary constiuencies – this is due for release in May 2022




[1] Can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2021

[2] This can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2021

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