16 Mar 2017

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“Any child living in poverty is one too many, but it is truly shocking that four million children are now affected by poverty.

“The situation is clearly getting worse, with nearly a third of children, or around nine in the average classroom, now living in poverty.

“We know that poverty has a devastating impact on children’s lives. It can lead to them missing out on hot meals, sleeping in cold bedrooms and being bullied at school, as well as drastically reducing their long-term life chances.

“That is why we want the Government to urgently re-think policies like its four year benefits freeze, benefit cap and move to restrict child tax credits to a family’s first two children.

“These measures, combined with rising inflation, are creating a perfect storm in which more children - including an increasing number whose parents are in work – are falling into the poverty trap, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimating that child poverty will soar to five million by 2020.

“If the Government does not take immediate action, then more and more children will continue to pay the price.”

Headline stats:
• 4 million children now living in poverty after housing costs
• 30% of children now living in poverty
• As in 2014/15 there are still 2.6 million children living in families 50% below the median income. This means the number of children living in deeper poverty remains unchanged from last year.
• 67% of children in poverty have at least one parent in work, up from 66% last year

Media enquiries
For more information, please call the media team on 020 7841 4520 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to Editor
• The Households below average income (HBAI) statistics for 2015/2016 published by the Department for Work and Pensions on 16 March 2017, are available here
• The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.