For immediate release: Wednesday 21st June 2017
End Child Poverty has today welcomed the Government’s commitment to ensuring fairer markets for consumers, and the absence of plans to scrap universal free school meals for infants, but expressed dismay that the legislative programme fails to address rising child poverty.
There are currently over 4 million children in poverty in the UK, and this figure is projected to rise to 5 million by 2020 as further social security cuts come into force. The Government has announced little to address this in the Queen’s Speech.
Sam Royston, Chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said,
“The lack of policies to tackle rising child poverty is the key failure of this legislative programme. Child poverty has a massive impact on children’s lives. It leads to a poorer childhood and worse outcomes throughout life, as well as cost to society of £29bn a year.”
“However the commitment to ensuring fairer markets for consumers is welcome. Our recent ‘Feeling the Pinch’ research indicated that the lowest income families can expect to pay up to £1700 a year more for essential goods and service – this Bill must present concrete actions to end this unfair “poverty premium.”
Notes to editors
1. The Queen’s Speech on 21st June 2017 included a commitment to publish a Green Paper on Fairer Markets for Consumers. This is expected to include measures to help people on poor energy deals.
2. The Households Below Average Income figures for 2015/6 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.
3. CPAG (2013) The cost of child poverty in 2013 estimates child poverty to carry a £29 billion cost to society.