New poll shows public believe Government action on child poverty falling short

12 June 2013

The poll, carried out by YouGov (2) and released by the End Child Poverty Campaign (a coalition of over 150 charities, civil society organisations and faith groups), shows that the vast majority of people view child poverty as a priority:

  • 82 per cent of people think that child poverty should be a priority for any government to tackle (3).
  • This support remains irrespective of political intention, with 77 per cent of those who intend to vote Conservative, 92 per cent of those who intend to vote Labour, 80 per cent of those who intend to vote Liberal Democrat and 80 per cent of those who intend to vote UKIP at the next election agreeing with this statement.

The poll also makes clear that the public are dissatisfied with the Government’s current efforts in this area:

  • 64 per cent believe that the Government should be doing more in this area. This includes 44 per cent of Conservatives, 85 per cent of Labour supporters, 63 per cent of Liberal Democrats and 60 per cent of those intending to vote UKIP at the next election.

The poll demonstrated strong public support for a range of concrete measures to help families:

  • 69 per cent believe that the Government should be doing more to help families get jobs that will help avoid poverty;
  • 69 per cent believe that Government should be doing more to tackle low wages which mean working families still face poverty. This comes in spite of the fact that Government has pledged to ‘make work pay’ through the Universal Credit scheme, due to be introduced in October.
  • 68 per cent believe that Government should be doing more to ensure that all children get a decent education, whatever their background. The Government’s Pupil Premium scheme seems not yet to have convinced the public that enough is being done in this area.
  • 67 per cent believe that the Government should be doing more to ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable homes for families; Announcements in the recent Budget have not allayed public fears around housing shortages.
  • 61 per cent believe that the Government should be doing more to ensure parents have access to good quality affordable childcare. Again, the Government’s recent proposals in this area have not convinced the public that the issues of affordable, accessible childcare are being adequately addressed.
  • 60 per cent believe that Government should be doing more to help families with the rising cost of living. 43 per cent believe that the Government should be doing more to provide families with financial support, whilst only 17 per cent think it is doing too much in this area.

Figures released on 13 June 2013 give a snapshot of poverty in the UK. The Institute for Fiscal Studies have already predicted that poverty is likely to rise sharply over the next five years (4), and the public demonstrate real concern about rising child poverty levels:

  • 48 per cent believe that child poverty will increase in the UK over the next five years (compared to 10 per cent who believe it will decrease, and 29 per cent who believe it will remain constant.

Families living below the poverty line go without essentials that many take for granted. A survey by Save the Children published in 2012 found that well over half of parents in poverty have cut back on food, and around a fifth of parents in poverty say their children cannot have new shoes when they need them (5).

Commenting on the figures, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition, and Director of Evidence and Impact at the National Children’s Bureau, Enver Solomon said:

These figures show that there is a real public appetite to do something about Britain’s shockingly high levels of child poverty. Voters of all political persuasions think this is unacceptable and believe that the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem, and support more concrete actions on wages, jobs, housing, education and childcare.

Official figures released tomorrow will give a snapshot of the UK’s shockingly high child poverty levels, and  it’s clear that the public agree with the projections of the Institute of Fiscal Studies that child poverty will get much worse in the coming years. It’s time for the Government to set out how it intends to reverse the rise in child poverty; these results suggest that the electorate wants to see that happen.

For further information or the full polling details please contact Kate Bell on 020 7812 5210 or kbell@cpag.org.uk

 


 

Notes to editors

(1)    The Annual Households Below Average Income figures, which show the scale of child poverty in the UK, will be published on 13th June by the Office for National Statistics.
(2)    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,938 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 22nd May 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
(3)    This confirms findings in the British Social Attitudes Survey 28th Report published in 2011, which found that 82 per cent of the public  considered it ‘very important’ to reduce child poverty, and that 79 per cent believed that central government should be responsible for reducing child poverty. See http://ir2.flife.de/data/natcen-social-research/igb_html/index.php?beric... for further details.
(4)    The Institute for Fiscal Studies published projections for relative child poverty rates across the UK on 7 May which suggested that the number of children living in relative poverty would increase by 1.1 million between 2010/11 and 2021 and the number of children living in absolute poverty will increase by 1.4 million over the same period. 
(5)    Save the Children (2012) It shouldn’t happen here: Child Poverty in 2012 available at http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/child_po...