11 June 2014

The news about child poverty is grim. After four years of Tory Libdem government we now know that the 2020 targets for reducing the poverty will be missed. The Labour government made commendable progress on reducing child poverty but overall its record was patchy and disappointing; however, the current government has worsened that.

The details are set out by the Social mobility and child poverty commission in its report Understanding parental employment scenarios necessary to meet the 2020 child poverty targets (June 2014). Read it here. Note the judgement: “It is impossible to meet the absolute or relative poverty targets even with unfeasibly large increases in parental employment” (page 42). Actually, two thirds of children in poverty are in working households.

In 2010/11 the proportions of children in relative and absolute poverty were 17 percent and 20 percent. By 2020 those figures are likely to be 21 percent and 24 percent. (These are the figures before housing costs.)

The report notes that the Institute for fiscal studies (IFS) presents a worse picture of 22.5 percent and 27.9 percent: see page 67.

On the heels of the news about the child poverty targets the Trussell Trust tells us that in 2013/14 it gave emergency food aid to 330 205 children in Britain. The Trust has food banks in Cornwall at Bude, Callington, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Penryn, Saltash, St Austell, Truro, and Wadebridge. Other organisations have food banks elsewhere in Cornwall and Britain so the Trussell figures necessarily understate the scale and help.

The Trussell Trust, Oxfam, and Church action on poverty have put out the report Below the breadline: the relentless rise of food poverty in Britain (June 2014) which looks at poverty in detail. You can access the free report through their websites.

This poverty is scandalous, a moral and practical failure. Large tranches of our people are being left in a dismal want that distorts their present and future lives, that wastes their talent and robs them and us of their skills. We can do better than this – and the living wage of Cornwall Council and a few others here will help. Let us see what realistic and thought-out practical policies the parties come up with to mitigate and eventually erase child poverty.

Notes and previous posts
I have written several posts about child poverty: these are the most recent. Be sure to read the definition of poverty, relative and absolute, in the various reports.

More hungry people, more foodbanks 17 October 2013

Suffer little children 2 September 2013

Cornwall child poverty costs 19 July 2013

Child poverty still with us 15 June 2012

Child poverty in Cornwall 2012 22 February 2012

Child poverty up and up and up 13 October 2011

Child poverty: yesterday and tomorrow 16 May 2011

Here is the CPAG report by Rys FARTHING Local authorities and child poverty: balancing threats and opportunities (July 2013). It is also accessible from here.

Here is the 2012 report from the End Child Poverty.

Section 6.4 in Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2013 (IFS) discusses child poverty over time.