In parts of the country, a child is now more likely to grow up in poverty than not. If the government doesn't act now, their failure will haunt them for decadesby Dawn Foster / January 25, 2018 / Leave a comment
A child born today in one of four constituencies—in London, Bethnal Green and Bow, and Poplar and Limehouse, and in Birmingham’s Ladywood and Hodge Hill—is, after housing costs, more likely to grow up in poverty than not. New research by the End Child Poverty coalition lists the areas with both the highest child poverty and the greatest increase, with the two mostly eliding.
Child poverty in particular has worsened at a far quicker rate than amongst adults and pensioners: in Bethnal Green, child poverty has increased 11 percentage points in two years. This is just the beginning. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank not known for leaning left, has warned absolute child poverty will increase by 4 per cent by 2021-22, with 400,000 children plunged into poverty as a directly attributable result of the rollout of Universal Credit.
The government’s obsession with reducing the benefit bill at any cost, without considering the two main components of the expenditure—an ageing population and a hefty housing benefit bill creamed off by private landlords—has seen the poorest become even poorer, with benefits being drastically cut in real terms. Food banks use has exploded. In almost every school I’ve visited in the past five years, teachers report hungry and distracted children. The number of children in temporary accommodation, classed as homeless, has not stopped climbing.