Yet alongside prosperity lives poverty. 4 in 10 (or 650,000) London children live in poverty , 12% above the national average4. Child poverty levels in inner London boroughs are higher still; more than one in every two inner London children live in poverty6. Indeed, London has the highest proportion of children living in income poverty (after housing costs) of any region or country in Great Britain5.
Moreover, whilst standards have been raised nationally, with over 600,000 children living in the UK having been lifted out of poverty, child poverty in London has remained stubbornly at this level since 2000. Child poverty is also more acute in London , with far more children in the lowest 10% of the income distribution and the highest rate of severe child poverty in the UK 7.
295 (39%) of London 's wards fall in the most deprived 20% of wards in England , with over 2.7million Londoners living in these wards. Furthermore, four London boroughs (Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington) are in the top ten most deprived boroughs in England8.
London is the economic engine of the UK . The capital houses the headquarters of more than 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies and London 's £162 billion economy is larger than some EU countries9. However, the contrast between London 's wealth-generating capacity and its poverty levels is striking. Families living in poverty have only £10 per person per day to buy everything they need . In contrast, the average household income in London is £44 per person per day - over 20% higher than the national average10. Indeed, whilst 22% households in London have an income of under £15,000, 15% households in London have an income of over £60,00011.
However, child poverty is more than just statistics. Hundreds of thousands of London children cannot do or have the everyday things that their friends take for granted. Some lack physical basics like adequate clothing and a balanced diet. Many others are unable to participate fully in society, for example because their parents cannot afford to pay for leisure activities outside school or they feel uncomfortable inviting friends round to their house.
Poverty impacts on the health, education and life chances of considerable numbers of children, consigning them to remain in a cycle of poverty which takes them from poverty in childhood, to becoming a parent of poor children. This intergenerational effect appears to be escalating12; children in the UK face higher risks of longer-term negative impacts of childhood poverty than in many other countries13
Aside from the moral obligation to end child poverty, there is also a financial one. Child poverty costs Londoners approximately £4.9billion every year incurred from paying for services required as a result of the fall-out of children growing up poor, to foregone taxes and higher benefits resulting from reduced future employment prospects of those who experience childhood poverty 16.