New statistics released this week show that child poverty is rising twice as fast as government figures suggest. Child poverty is defined as any child living in a household with an income of less than 60 per cent of the national average, after housing costs are considered.
About one in every four children from Elm Park, South Hornchurch and Rainham and Wennington live in families that are struggling below the poverty line. The overall child poverty rate for Havering is 22 per cent. In Dagenham the proportion of children living in poverty is 36.6pc.
It is estimated that a further c.400,000 more children are set to fall into poverty over the next four years if the Government pursues its planned tax and benefit reforms. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts that under the rollout of universal credit absolute child poverty is set to increase from 27 per cent to 31 per cent by 2021. The limiting of tax credits and universal credit to two children means that some low-income families will receive over £2,500 less in benefits than they otherwise would have.
The Child Poverty Action Group states that by 2022 the number of children living in poverty is expected to increase by one million including 300,000 children under the age of five directly as a result of changes to Universal Credit. They found that a single parent would be £1,658 worse off in 2020 than if the government had retained the original welfare and benefits policy.
Also, the reduction in JSA services has a large impact on this issue. The risk of poverty is much greater for workless families with 70% of children living in workless families in London being in low income AHC, compared to around 30% of children in working families.
Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham commented: “child poverty has risen to its highest rate in 15 years. The incomes of the poorest households in the UK slumped last year which led to the largest rise in poverty since Margaret Thatcher was in power. These latest statistics are a damning indictment of this Tory government, who only seem to be delivering deeper social and economic divides.”