Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Child Poverty Prevalent in the UK

A child is said to live in poverty if they are in a family living on less than 60 per cent of median household income. According to the latest official statistics, 60 per cent of median income, after housing costs, was around £248 per week. 

Almost half of all children in some UK cities are estimated to be living in poverty, new figures reveal, amid warnings that welfare reforms are leading to an “emerging child poverty crisis”. The “shocking” figures have been attributed to the benefit freeze – which has been in place since 2015 and leaves children’s benefits frozen until the end of the decade – as well as the high cost of credit for low-income families, leaving many “spiralling into debt”.

The latest figures, collated by the End Child Poverty coalition through analysis of tax credit data and national trends in worklessness, estimate that child poverty in Manchester and Birmingham stands at 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.

 In the London borough of Tower Hamlets this reaches 53 per cent.  Bethnal Green and Bow in London has the highest child poverty rate at 54 per cent, while in Ladywood in Birmingham 53 per cent are living in poverty. Among the 20 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham and three in Manchester.

 The End Child Poverty coalition is made up of almost 100 organisations, including children’s charities, faith groups and trade unions.  It has called on the Chancellor to end the freeze on children’s benefits so that families no longer see living standards “squeezed” as prices rise. The impact of poverty may be exacerbated by a poverty premium. This means low-income families can face paying as much as £1700 per year more than better-off families to buy the same essential goods and services, according to the coalition. 
Sam Royston, chair of End Child Poverty and director of policy and research at the Children’s Society, said it was “scandalous” that a child born in some parts of the UK had a “greater chance of growing up in poverty than being in a family above the breadline... No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children.”
Dalia Ben-Galim, of single parent campaign group Gingerbread, said: “Increasing levels of child poverty will continue to be the reality for many single-parent families with the cost of living rising.”
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “These are shocking figures. It is nothing short of a disgrace that in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, there are constituencies where more than half of children are growing up in poverty.”

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