UNICEF warns over child poverty in UK

UNICEF, the United Nations agency, has highlighted the danger that public spending cuts by the government will reverse progress on reducing UK child poverty.

The report reviews progress made by the world’s wealthiest countries in reducing child poverty and deprivation.

Key points

  • Using 2009 data, the UK was ranked 9th out of 29 European countries in terms of its record on child deprivation (measured by reference to a lack of items such as regular meals and new clothes).
  • On a relative income measure (percentage of children living in households with less than 50 per cent of national median income) the UK came 22nd out of 39 economically advanced countries.
  • The UK performed above the average in separate league tables showing the deprivation rate for children living in lone-parent families, families with low parental education, jobless households (no adult in paid employment) and migrant families.
  • Even though the UK missed its own targets to reduce relative child poverty to 1.7 million children in 2010, it still achieved one of the largest reductions in child poverty.
  • Independent analysis suggests this progress will be ‘thrown into reverse’ by government cuts such as those to child benefit and child tax credits.
  • Child poverty rate is predicted to begin rising again in 2013, with levels of ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ child poverty expected to reach 24 per cent and 23 per cent respectively by 2020/21 when compared with targets of 10 per cent and 5 per cent.

Source: Peter Adamson, Measuring Child Poverty: New League Tables of Child Poverty in the World’s Rich Countries, UNICEF

Links: Report | Press release | BBC report

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