‘Over half a million’ children pushed into poverty

Over half a million more children will have been forced into poverty by 2015 as a result of the coalition government's public spending cuts and tax and benefit changes, according to a report from the official children's rights watchdog for England.

The report is based on an analysis, by Landman Economics, that uses microsimulation models to assess the likely impact on children living in different kinds of families – the first time, the watchdog says, this kind of analysis has been undertaken.

Key findings

  • Despite some progressive policies, families with children have lost more as a result of the economic policies modelled than those without children; and some of the most vulnerable groups have lost the most.
  • The number of UK children living in poverty (below 60 per cent of median income before housing costs) is expected to rise by around 700,000 – from 2.3 to 3 million – between 2010-11 and 2015. Including universal credit leads to only a slightly smaller child poverty figure of 2.9 million.
  • The number of children living in households below 50 per cent of median income before housing costs is expected to rise by 300,000 to 1.5 million children during the same period.
  • The number of children living below a 'minimum income standard' is expected to rise by 400,000 to 6.8 million (around 52 per cent of all children).
  • The impact of tax and benefit reforms has been strongly regressive: low-income families with children have lost more as a percentage of net income than high-income families.
  • On average, couples with children have experienced the largest losses in cash terms of any type of household. The largest percentage losses have been felt by lone parents, both before and after the introduction of universal credit.
  • Families with disabled children have suffered slightly bigger average losses than average in percentage terms. Children with disabled parents have also been more affected than average.

SourceA Child Rights Impact Assessment of Budget Decisions: Including the 2013 Budget, and the Cumulative Impact of Tax-Benefit Reforms and Reductions in Spending on Public Services 2010–2015, Office of the Children's Commissioner | Howard Reed, Diane Elson and Sue Himmelweit, An Adequate Standard of Living: A Child Rights Based Quantitative Analysis of Budgetary Decisions 2010–13, Office of the Children's Commissioner
LinksReport | OCC press release | Research report | Childrens Society press release

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