Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Child poverty is going to rise

Stagnating incomes and “actively regressive” tax and benefits policies will push an extra 1 million children into poverty between 2016-17 and 2023-4, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank forecasts that the majority of children with single parents, families with three or more children and households where no one is in work will be living in poverty within five years.

It calculated that four years of benefits freezes, compounded by a spike in inflation after the Brexit referendum, will leave the poorest UK households £4.4bn worse off. 
Years of falling wages and benefit cuts have come at a “terrible human cost”, said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. “Millions are struggling to put food on the table and clothe their kids.
Many families will see £2,700 wiped from their budgets by the two-child limit on universal credit while other benefits have not been raised since 2015. Meanwhile, sharp rises in prices which have eaten into already tight budgets.
Overall, child poverty will to soar to 29 per cent in 2024 without drastic changes to benefit policies, according to the Resolution Foundation’s forecasts.
Brexit-related uncertainty has also eroded real household incomes which are £1,500 lower on average than had been predicted before the June 2016 referendum, but problems have been exacerbated by “deliberate policy choices” which have compounded the impact on low-income groups, the report said.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said that the government’s continued failure to deal with child poverty undermines what the UK stands for as a country.
“More and more children are going to school hungry, having to go without a proper winter coat or living in a family who are unable to afford a decent home,” he said.
Child Poverty Action Group’s director of policy Louisa McGeehan, said: “After years of deep social security cuts we are on the cusp of a child poverty crisis which will damage both the life chances of a generation and the wider economy.”

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