Child poverty statistics highlight inconvenient truths for the government

July 1, 2014

Immediate Release

Child poverty statistics highlight inconvenient truths for the government

Key findings from official figures on UK child poverty for 2012/13, published today by DWP show the following:

  • Relative child poverty - the tide is turning with child poverty expected to rise in future years

    Relative poverty is the best measure of whether ‘we’re all in it together’ that we have - it measures how many children have living standards that fall behind children in average income families.

    - For 2012-13, relative poverty before housing costs has not changed from the previous year. 2.3m or 17% of all children live in relative poverty (tables 4a and 4b) (IFS projections published earlier this year suggested a small increase).

    - However, looking at incomes after housing costs, relative child poverty rose by 100,000 (tables 4a and 4b).

    It projects that relative child poverty (before housing costs) will reach 3.2million by 2020.

    - IFS projections strongly suggest that, under current policies, the overall fall in child poverty seen since 1999 has now ended and that the trend this decade is likely to  be large rises in child poverty.

  • Absolute child poverty - living standards of poorest families continue to fall

    Absolute poverty measures tell us whether more families are facing real changes in income from a fixed point – in other words it shows falling living standards.

    - In 2012-13, absolute child poverty  before housing costs did not change from the previous year  - 2.6m or 19% of all children live in absolute poverty (tables 4a and 4b)

    - Looking at incomes after housing costs, absolute child poverty rose by 200,000 (tables 4a and 4b) 

    - Again, IFS projections strongly suggest that, under current policies, the overall falls in child poverty seen since 1999 have now ended and that the overall trend this decade is likely to be large. It projects that absolute child poverty (before housing costs) will reach 4million by 2020.

  • Working poverty - nearly two-thirds of poor children have a working parent

    - 63% of children in poverty have at least one working parent (see table 4.ts)

  • Poverty and disability – the connection is getting stronger

    -  There are now 1.4 million children in absolute poverty (after housing costs) in a household where someone has a disability - more than a third of the total in absolute poverty (table 7b).

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group, said:

"Today's child poverty statistics highlight the inconvenient truths for the Government that maintaining the value of social security support helps protect families with children from poverty and that work isn't working for far too many families.

“2012 was the last year we saw the value of family benefits increased in line with inflation. If it hadn’t been for that decision, child poverty would have increased that year. We know that the Government’s cuts to the real value of benefits in subsequent years will drive up child poverty from this point on.

“We can see signs of this already. The government may have claimed to have protected the 'most vulnerable' but there are half a million more people living in absolute poverty (after housing costs) in households where someone has a disability than there were last year. This year’s figures also show us that in-work poverty remains an acute problem for families.

“We need to tackle low pay and support working parents because too often a job isn't enough in itself to lift families out of poverty.

“Child poverty already costs Britain £29bn a year. It's good to hear that the Government says it is sticking to its promise to end child poverty but its strategy simply isn’t delivering. We need actions that improve the childhoods and life chances of poorer children, not just words.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

For further information please contact:

Natalie Owen

CPAG Press Officer

Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302