Child poverty is becoming ‘the new normal’

May 2019

End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, has released new data that shows that child poverty levels are shockingly high – and is rising fast in areas that are already hardest hit. This interactive map shows the full picture.

Heartbreakingly, Luton has the 7th highest levels of child poverty in Britain. The coalition, of which Level Trust is a member, is calling for the major Parties to put in place a strategy to reduce child poverty. The data shows that it is becoming the norm in some parts of Britain, with more than 50% of children living trapped in poverty in some constituencies.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair 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. And we know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.’

‘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. Policymakers can no longer deny the depth of the problem or abandon entire areas to rising poverty. The Government must respond with a credible child poverty-reduction strategy.

 ‘The Government’s own data shows that child poverty in the UK has been rising steadily in recent years.    This just isn’t right.’

‘Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well-paid work as adults. We urgently need Government to set a course of action that will free our children from the grip of poverty.’

Level Trust CEO Jane Malcolm said:

“We know through our work how devastating poverty can be for children. It means that a child might not have the uniform and equipment they need for school. They’re unlikely to be able to do fun things in the school holidays and they are more likely to suffer with mental health problems and low self-esteem. They can feel embarrassed about making friends because they feel different and they can have little hope for the future. The damage poverty can cause is heart breaking – but it doesn’t have to be like this. That’s why we are joining the call to end child poverty in Luton and across the UK.”

End Child Poverty is calling for Government to set out an ambitious and credible child poverty-reduction strategy, including:

  • Restoring the link between benefits (including housing support) and inflation, and then making up for the loss in the real value in children’s benefits as a result of the 4-year freeze and previous sub-inflation increases in benefit rates.
  • Ending the two-child limit on child allowances in tax credits and universal credit-and reforming Universal Credit.
  • Reversing the cuts and investing in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care.

The full report is available at:

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