The latest official figures show that there were 2.8 million children across the country living below the breadline in March 2021, even before the cost of housing was taken into account
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A shocking two in three children are living in poverty in some parts of the UK, the latest figures show.
Data shows there were 2.8million children across the country living below the breadline in March 2021, even before the cost of housing was taken into account.
The number has dipped from 3.2million in March 2020 thanks in part to financial support from the government during the start of the pandemic.
However, with the £20 uplift to Universal Credit gone, living costs rising, and benefits not keeping up, charities have warned the situation is likely to get much worse.
The figures mean that one in every five children in the UK was living in poverty last year (19%) – and in some neighborhoods the situation is even more stark.
Analysis of hyperlocal data (areas with a population of around 7,200 people each) show that in the Govanhill West area of Glasgow, 69% of children are living in poverty.
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The figures include teenagers up to the age of 19 who are still living at home with their parents or carers and are in full time education or training.
The proportions are estimates based on DWP figures on the number of children living in families with a household income of less than 60% of the UK average as of March 2021, and population estimates from the Office for National Statistics as of mid-2020.
As the Government only publishes local data on child poverty before housing costs, in some cases these figures are likely an underestimate of the number of children living in poverty – particularly in areas with high rents.
Meanwhile, the figures also suggest that work isn’t a reliable route out of poverty – the majority of children living below the breadline last year had at least one working parent.
Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “These figures show the Chancellor’s actions to increase incomes at the start of the pandemic lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, but the Treasury’s relative inaction to help families on low incomes in today’s cost of living crisis are likely to see any progress lost and child poverty climb again.
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“As prices continue to rise, more low-income parents we support who were just about managing could go under, with no tips, tricks or hacks left to stretch their income over the month.
“Our new research shows nearly half (47%) of children we polled from low-income backgrounds worry about their family’s finances as struggling parents are left to decide whether to put food on the table or heat their homes.
“As well as the current cost of living crisis, many families with children are still reeling from October’s £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit.
“Unless the Government chooses to shield them now by protecting benefits from rising inflation, it will fail on its manifesto pledge to cut child poverty and millions of families will continue to face years of miserable hardship.”
A government spokesperson said: “The latest figures show there were fewer children in poverty, and as work is the best route out of poverty, it’s right that we focus on filling the record number of vacancies.
“We continue to provide extensive support to help families with the cost of living, backed up by over £22 billion of targeted investment to help low-income households.
“This includes putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families via changes to Universal Credit, cutting fuel duty and helping households with their energy bills through our £9.1 billion Energy Bills Rebate.
“We have also increased the minimum wage by more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and are raising National Insurance thresholds so people across the UK will keep more of what they earn before they start paying tax, while our £1 billion Household Support Fund is helping the most vulnerable with essential costs.”