Tuesday 10th November 2015
End Child Poverty Coalition warns of government plans to scrap child poverty measures
The End Child Poverty coalition of leading charities, civil society organisations and faith groups is calling on the House of Lords to ensure the government keeps reporting to Parliament on child poverty as a matter of priority, not side-lining the measures in light of bleak projections of steep rises in child poverty.
In setting out its priorities in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill (which the House of Lords considers on 17 November) the Government wants to remove the duty to tackle income-related poverty and to report to Parliament on their progress towards this. Instead, the Government will focus on how well children do in their GCSEs and whether their parents have a job or not. These are important issues, but they don’t get to the bottom of whether child poverty is a prevalent issue in the UK.
New analysis by the coalition of the latest Household Below Average Income figures shows that the number of children in poverty in working households has risen by 300,000 since 2010 to reach 2.4 million – meaning that nearly two thirds of children in poverty live in working households.1
From our work with the most vulnerable children, we know many families on low incomes are struggling to make ends meet and provide the very basics for their children, forced to make impossible choices like whether to heat their homes or put food on the table.
Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty said:
“We know money matters and we need to keep measuring whether families have enough. Scrapping the poverty measures set out in law will leave ministers blind to the numbers of children living in families struggling to get by because they lack the money they need to stay warm and fed – including nearly two and a half million children in working families.”
End Child Poverty is campaigning to keep the duty to report on income-related child poverty measures because of the overwhelming evidence that income is a key driver of child outcomes. The coalition is calling on the public to join our campaign and write to a Peer via the website at http://moneymatters.endchildpoverty.org.uk/
Notes to editors:
1: Calculated after housing costs
The Government’s annual Households Below Average Income statistics allow us to calculate the number of children in poverty in working households, and how this has changed over time.
According to table 4.14ts 19% of children in working households lived in relative income poverty (after housing costs) in 2010-11. By 2013-14 (the latest available figures) this had increased to 21%. As shown in table 1 below, this means that children in relative income poverty in working families increased by 300,000 in this period.
The difference is even greater when measured in terms of “absolute” poverty (whereby the poverty line is increased in line with inflation rather than increases in median household income.) Table 4.20ts shows that poverty on this absolute low income measure (after housing costs,) increased from 19% in 2010-11 to 23% in 2013-14. This means that children in “absolute” poverty in working families increased by 500,000 in this period.
· According to Households Below Average Income figures, there were 3.7 million children living in relative poverty (after housing costs) in the UK in 2013-14. That’s 28 per cent of children. 63% of those children living in poverty are in working households.
· The Child Poverty Act 2010 set targets to end child poverty in the UK by 2020 and requirements on government and local authorities to publish data and strategies on child poverty. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill would remove the child poverty targets and also the requirement on government to publish data on the four child poverty measures (relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income, and persistent poverty). Instead, the Government proposes to measure educational attainment at Key Stage 4 and worklessness.
· 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, Barnardo’s, 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.
You can get in touch with the coalition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call the campaign hosts, Child Poverty Action Group, on 020 7812 5216 for media enquiries.