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Half a Million More UK Children Are Living in Poverty Now Than in 2010: Report


Why Global Citizens Should Care 
Growing up in poverty can drastically limit a child’s potential in life. That’s why the UN’s Global Goals are calling on countries everywhere to work to end poverty in all its forms by 2030. Join the movement by taking action here to help put an end to poverty. 

Half a million people children are now living in relative poverty in Britain compared to 2010 figures, according to a new report from the End Child Poverty coalition. 

What’s more, with two-thirds of child poverty in Britain occurring in working families, the coalition has warned that this could become the “new normal.” 

By 2017-8, there were 4.1 million children living below the poverty line in Britain, according to the report released on Wednesday. 

And it highlights that, while “child poverty exists in every part of the UK,” the risk is “far higher” in some local areas than in others. 

According to the report, based on research from a team at Loughborough University, child poverty estimates tend to be the highest in some of Britain’s largest cities — particularly in London, Birmingham, and Greater Manchester. 

In some areas, more than half of children are living in poverty. 

In London’s Tower Hamlets, for example, 57% of children live in poverty. The London boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Islington, and Westminster, as well as Luton, and Manchester all also have children poverty rates above 45%.

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“The figures suggest overall that child poverty is rising fastest in places where it is already high,” it adds, highlighting that this “underlines the importance of monitoring local child poverty rates rather than just assuming that national trends will affect all areas equally.” 

Additionally, as the present national increase is projected to continue, with rates set to reach record levels by the early 2020s, “children’s life changes in the worst-hit areas are set to diminish further.” 

Anna Feuchtwang, from the End Child Poverty coalition, called for the government to “urgently” take steps to “free children from the grip of poverty.” 

“We know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two-thirds of child poverty occurring in working families,” she said in a statement. “Yet in many areas, growing up in poverty is not the exception, it’s the rule — with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances.” 

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“We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it,” she added. “We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-term cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs.” 

There are two definitions of poverty in Britain: “relative” and “absolute”  — and both are now higher than in 2010, according to the coalition, whether measured before or after housing costs. 

Relative poverty is based on whether households have less than 60% of the current median household income. Absolute poverty is based on a fixed income threshold set at 60% of the 2010 income.

There was a long period in which child poverty fell in the UK, according to the report, between the late 1990s and around 2010. Rates then fluctuated for a while in the first half of this decade, and “the trend is now upwards on all indicators.” 

By 2022, it’s reportedly predicted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that the number of children in poverty in Britain will rise to 5.1 million.