Child poverty set to soar over the next decade

11 October 2011

There will be a big rise in the number of people living in poverty in the UK over the next 10 years, and children, in particular, will be the victims of harsher reforms, warns the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Alarming research conducted by the IFS suggests that by 2020/2021 child poverty in Britain will hit its highest level since the beginning of the century.

According to the report, between 2009-2010 2.2 million children and two million adults were living in 'absolute poverty' and this will increase by another 600,000 children and 800,000 adults over the next two years.

Absolute poverty is defined as someone with a household income that is at least 60% lower than the national average.

New measures

The government aims to combat the number of children in poverty by introducing a single monthly benefit payment called the Universal Credit in 2013.

However, the IFS doesn't believe this will be enough to prevent poverty increasing because the benefit will be offset by other reforms, such as changing the measure of inflation used for measuring means-tested benefits.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, says: "This devastating report leaves the government's child poverty and social mobility strategies in jeopardy.

"Ministers seem to be in denial that, under current policies, their legacy threatens to be the worst poverty record of any government for a generation. They risk damaging childhoods and children's life chances, as well as our national economic wellbeing from wasted potential and social costs spiral.  It would be a catastrophic failure in public policy and political leadership."

She adds: "We need a child poverty approach that builds on what has been proven to work in previous years, which saw the most sustained drop in child poverty levels since records began, including during the recession.

"That's investing in child benefit and child tax credits, providing help for parents to find and afford the childcare they need to take up jobs, and genuine help for people to find jobs they can raise a family on."


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