Child poverty numbers on the rise

Posted by Dan Breslin / Friday 01 July 2016 / Early intervention Cost of living

In a busy week for Westminster it can be easy to forget that government departments are getting back to work and are as busy as ever.

Whilst some people spent Tuesday morning wondering what happened to the England football team the night before, the Department for Work and Pension published the latest child poverty statistics.

And much like England’s performance, the child poverty stats are not inspiring.

There are now 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK. An increase of 200,000 in just one year. The Government has focused on making work pay, but two in three children who are in poverty have a parent who is in work.

This is very worrying.

More children are now living in families struggling to get by with little money to pay for essentials. And more children are now facing the awful impact of living in poverty, from poorer health to lower educational attainment.


Successive governments have made some good progress tackling child poverty but the number are now heading in the wrong direction.

The results are sadly in keeping with the projections from independent organisations about the likelihood that child poverty will rise 50 per cent by 2020.

This is why Action for Children, along with other children’s charities, are part of the End Child Poverty coalition which last year persuaded the Government to scrap plans to reduce child tax credits.

But more is needed.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister was scheduled to publish a government strategy on improving children’s life chances. This was going to explain how Ministers would deliver change and tackle problems which blight children’s futures – including living in poverty.

After David Cameron’s announcement that he was stepping aside, the strategy has been shelved. This doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, just that it won’t be published soon.

We can’t wait around while the number of children living in poverty is rising. We need action from the Government now.

Action for Children are campaigning for government to do more for disadvantaged children before they reach the school gates. We want to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage. To do this we need to give every child the best possible start in life.

One in two children from low income families across England arrive at school not ready to learn. This means far too many children are at risk of doing worse in school and having lower paid jobs in the future. Improving children’s development before age 5 must be part of any plan to stop poor children becoming poor parents themselves.  

You can help us make a difference. Join our Fair by Five campaign and let MPs know they have to act now.

The number of children living in poverty is going in the wrong direction. But government can do something about it and stop the shocking predictions that a quarter of children will live in poverty by 2020.


If the Government acts, by the time England steps onto the pitch at the 2020 European Championship we may have something to really cheer about.

Join the conversation.

Find out how you can become a campaigner, stay up to date with our latest tweets and join in the discussion on our blog.