The UK Government’s new vanishing act won’t make 2.4 million children in poverty disappear

Posted by / Friday 22 January 2016 /

The End Child Poverty coalition is urging the House of Lords to reject the Government’s plans to scrap legally binding commitments to report and respond to the number of children living in poverty.

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords on 25th January, would remove both the statutory target to eradicate child poverty by 2020, and the commitment to report and respond to the proportion of children living in poverty. Instead, the Government wants to define need on the basis of school performance and whether parents are in work.

Evidence shows that 64 per cent (2.4 million) of the 3.7 million children living in poverty are in working households.[1] That means that the Government, by proposing to focus on worklessness, risks ignoring millions of children who live in deprivation but whose parents are working.


"By seeking to abandon commitments to report on and tackle the number of children living in families on low incomes the Government seems to think it can make child poverty magically disappear. Scrapping the Child Poverty Act and replacing it with inadequate measures based on worklessness and low educational attainment will do nothing to help the millions of children who are suffering in real poverty now. Income is at the heart of child poverty.<br/> <br/> In 2010 all the main political parties committed to measure and report on the number of children living in poverty and to eradicate it by 2020. The Government must keep this promise."

Sam Royston, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition and Policy Director at The Children’s Society

New analysis by the End Child Poverty coalition also shows an estimated 5.8m children are living in families that cannot make savings of even £10 a month, while parents of 300,000 children cannot afford to buy them a warm winter coat. Some 1.7m children are living in families who struggle to keep their house warm and 1.6m live in families who are failing to keep up with their bills. [2]

"I should have been able to afford it, as a working mum, but I couldn’t afford to put food on the table. Parents like myself can’t provide the very basics for their children and are forced to make impossible choices like whether to heat their homes or put food on the table. I know first-hand how this affects our children’s chances in life, their health and education. Every child should live in a family that is able to afford the basic essentials."

Lorna Sculley, a single mum of 3 boys, who works as a School Kitchen Assistant

[1] According to Households Below Average Income figures, there were 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2013-14. That’s 28 per cent of children. 64% of those children living in poverty are in working households. See ECP website for more information

[2] See ECP Report Stage Briefing for more information


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