1 in 4 UK kids to live in poverty by 2020

Nearly one-quarter of British children will be living in poverty by the year 2020, a new report has predicted. PM David Cameron pledged that child poverty would be gone by this time, yet some of the government’s policies seem to exacerbate the crisis.


Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimated that the UK government’s budgetary decisions in recent years will reverse improvements in child poverty rates made over the previous 10 years. By 2020, approximately 3.4 million children – about 1 in 4 children – will be living in poverty, nearly 1 million more than the current figure.

Tax and benefit reforms introduced since April 2010 can account for almost all of the increases in child poverty projected over the next few years,” IFS said.

In 2007, David Cameron committed his party to addressing child poverty, saying that “Ending child poverty is central to improving child well-being.” The Child Poverty Act was passed in 2010, committing both current and future governments to take action to eliminate child poverty.

But the results are apparently the opposite: “The IFS verdict is clear – by both internationally recognized measures, this government is set to plunge over 1 million children into poverty by the end of this decade, undoing all the good work of the last Labour government.” Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, told Huffington Post.

Children in poverty are considered to be those from households with a yearly income below 60 percent of the national average. The IFS examined rates using two indicators: The first relative to what the median income is predicted to be in a given year, and a second absolute indicator measuring against what the median income was in 2010 and 2011.

Image from ifs.org.uk

Image from ifs.org.uk

The number of 3.4 million children in poverty is the most conservative estimate, based on incomes before housing costs are paid. Assessments including those costs and measuring incomes by 2010-2011 levels show that the number of UK children in poverty could be as high as 5 million by the year 2020.

Image from ifs.org.uk

Image from ifs.org.uk

The study was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Executive to assess poverty levels in the region, but it also examined the UK as a whole.

The impact on an entire generation of children could be devastating, both in terms of their immediate wellbeing and their longer-term lack of opportunities,” the head of Save the Children Scotland, Neil Mathers, said.

However, officials caution that the research’s conclusions may be premature. “The IFS analysis does not fully take into account the dynamic and behavioral changes that will result from our welfare reforms,” a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson told Huffington Post. “In fact, the changes under Universal Credit will make 3 million households better off and lift up to 250,000 children out of poverty.”

‘Universal Credit’ is a new welfare benefit in the UK that will replace a number of the main benefits and tax credits. The policy has come under a harsh criticism due to a separate study by the TUC and Child Poverty Action Group showing that 9 out of 10 families will see no benefit from the new system.

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11 Responses to "1 in 4 UK kids to live in poverty by 2020"

  1. Allissa  May 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Invest in children that mean invest in our future wellness! It’s sad, when politician don’t see it as important as to invest somewhere else rather then the children.

  2. Eider Green  May 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Don’t like the picture though – doesn’t that imply impoverished kids are abused? Most families/ children living in relative poverty, even absolute poverty are well loved and not abused. Lack of resources does not equal abused street waif for most people. The picture is much ore complicated and this strikes me as unhelpful because it gives the wrong message.

  3. Sharon  May 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    indeed the photo reinforces a stereotypical view of what poverty looks like- makes it harder for people to see poverty when its staring them in the face. The kids who turn up at school each day , day in day out in the same clothing, often cleaned overnight by parents who don’t want the world to know about their poverty, the kids watching on the sidelines as other kids have what they don’t.
    Poverty isn’t always visible and doesn’t have a look !

    • Eider Green  May 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      yes – looking at the image credit it is actually a colorised version of “Damaged Child,” Oklahoma City, OK, USA, 1936….. how contemporary.

  4. Eider Green  May 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    if true activist does as it says ” believe that the mainstream media increasingly practices self-censorship, and that it ignores many opinions and historical events. With the media distorting or ignoring information, it’s often very hard to get an accurate picture of a problem.” it better up is game and stop distorting the problem itself.

  5. suraci  May 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    You can’t bite you’re own teeth or clap with one hand just as you can’t measure poverty purely in terms of money. It is an absolute absurdity when the entity ‘money’ is used to quantify social reality. Can you buy friends and family? No, these are relationships and not static stuff. If 25% of children in the UK in 2020 instead would get materially ‘rich’, they might still be poor in terms of quality of life – Indeed, with more ‘material wealth’, they might in this context be even worse of in terms of life quality. Although this news article is sad to read, it calls for fundamental change, both political and economical, but first of all a change of perception

  6. Harrison Terran  May 30, 2013 at 10:19 am

    The cost of living seems to be doing only one thing…it keeps going up and our leaders haven’t a clue as to what needs to be done to deal with all the problems associated with the economic crisis. It’s definitely time they turned to the professional economic specialists, like the ones at the Orlando Bisegna Index. They have not only been measuring the intensity of the economic crisis, but have also helped many counties with their debt problems, business failures and unemployment, therefore helping many families in their economic situation.


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