£143,000 needed for child's minimum needs

The total cost of meeting the minimum basic needs of a child from birth to age 18 is £143,000, according to a new estimate. This equates to around £150 per week, averaged for a child across all ages and including childcare costs and housing.

The calculation, produced for the Child Poverty Action Group, is not based on what families actually spend on their children, but instead on detailed research into the cost of a minimum basket of goods and services that allows families to participate in society. 

Key points

  • State support fails to ensure basic physical needs are met, covering only between 73 per cent and 94 per cent (depending on family composition) of basic costs for children. This leaves many families lacking sufficient funds for a healthy diet for the whole family, and living in unhealthy housing conditions with problems such as overcrowding and damp.
  • A full-time job at the national minimum wage is not enough to meet minimum costs for children.
  • Child benefit meets only 20 per cent of minimum costs on average.
  • Childcare can add as much as £60,000 to the total cost of childhood.

Source: Donald Hirsch, Liz Sutton and Jacqueline Beckhelling, The Cost of a Child in the Twenty-first Century, Child Poverty Action Group
Links: Report | CPAG press release