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Law Articles

Child poverty in the UK 10/02/2019

The UK approaches Brexit with half a million more children suffering poverty, following 'a relentless rise in the number of working families struggling to make ends meet over the last five years'. This is the main finding of Joseph Rowntree Foundation's annual report examining the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and its effect on people gripped by it.

JRF found that child poverty has been rising since 2011/12, a rise of 500,000 in the last five years. Strikingly, say the research team, in-work poverty has been rising even faster than employment, driven almost entirely by increasing poverty among working parents.

The key points of the report are:

  • One-and-a-half million people were living in destitution in the UK at some point during 2017, including 365,000 children;
  • Overall, 4.6 million (7%) people in the UK are in persistent poverty. The highest rate of persistent poverty is among lone-parent families (24%), followed by single men without children (12%);
  • Child poverty has been rising since 2011/12. 4.1 million children now live in poverty which is a rise of 500,000 in the last five years. This is much faster than would be expected based on population growth. The total number of children has risen by 3%, while the number of children in poverty has risen by 15%;
  • Nearly half of children in lone-parent families live in poverty (49%) compared with one in four of those in couple families (25%);
  • Lone parents are much more likely to be low paid than parents in couples. Just over half of working lone parents are low paid, compared with only 37% of second earners in couples and 21% of main earners in couples;
  • The rise in in-work poverty over the last five years has been driven almost entirely by the increase in the poverty rate of working parents. A working parent is over one-and-a-half times more likely to be in poverty than a working non-parent;
  • The poverty rate among working-age adults without children (who were not a focus of concerted action to reduce poverty) did not change between 1994/5 and 2004/5, and then rose until 2011/12 before falling to 2014/15; and
  • The recent rise in pensioner poverty has been primarily driven by increases in poverty among pensioners who rent. Poverty among pensioners in the private rented sector is now 36% (up from 27% in 2007/08). For social renters, poverty has risen from 20% to 31% since 2012/13.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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