The UK has seen a dramatic rise in the number of children living in poverty since the Conservative government took power in 2010, a new report claims.
The End Child Poverty coalition of charities says that around 500,000 more children have fallen below the poverty line since 2010 - and warns that the youngsters’ plight is becoming the “new normal” in parts of Britain.
Rates of child poverty are increasing fastest in the nation’s poorest regions, according to the group, which says that some areas are at risk of being “abandoned” to the crisis, The Guardian reports.
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The total number of children in poverty has risen from 3.6 million in 2010-11 to 4.1 million in 2017-18. And the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that this figure will continue to rise, hitting 5.1 million by 2022, as a result of “cuts to benefits and in-work allowances”, says The Independent.
The UK’s poorest neighbourhoods are spread across the country, but there is a notable concentration in Greater London. Tower Hamlets has the highest child poverty rates among British local authorities, at 57%, followed by the London boroughs of Newham, Hackney and Islington.
Manchester, Luton, Peterborough and the Lancashire town of Pendle also have among the highest levels of child poverty, with all recording rates above 45%.
Anna Feuchtwang of the End Child Poverty coalition said: “We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it. We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs.”
The Government must “urgently” set a course of action to “free children from the grip of poverty”, she added.
But a government spokesperson claimed that the study was “based on estimates using a new methodology and should be treated with caution”.
“Children growing up in working households are five times less likely to be in relative poverty, which is why we are supporting families to improve their lives through work,” the spokesperson said.
“And statistics show employment is at a joint record high, wages are outstripping inflation and income inequality and absolute poverty are lower than in 2010.”
According to the new study, the ten worst places in the UK for child poverty are:
- Tower Hamlets: 56.7%
- Newham: 51.8%
- Hackney: 48.1%
- Islington: 47.5%
- Blackburn with Darwen: 46.9%
- Westminster: 46.2%
- Luton: 45.7%
- Manchester: 45.4%
- Pendle: 44.7%
- Peterborough: 43.8%
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