Posted: 25 June 2014

Together, we can influence the government's child poverty strategy

As part of the government’s consultation on their new child poverty strategy the Child Poverty Unit recently visited Tithe Farm Children’s Centre to speak to local families and practitioners about child poverty.

Families and practitioners expressed a wide range of concerns, including the growing use of food banks and increasing energy bills and housing costs that families face. Many parents using our centre also talked about the difficulties they faced in managing their finances, changing monthly income when they returned to work and the difficulties they face simply staying out of debt.  

With government officials now analysing responses to their child poverty strategy, we need to ensure substantial action is taken to halt the projected rise in child poverty in the UK.  

Despite past efforts, families face increasing financial pressures. Far from the government meeting its target of eradicating child poverty by 2020, the number of children in poverty is projected to rise by 1.1 million more than in 2011.

We can make a difference

To help children and families get out of poverty, we need measures enacted to tackle child poverty now and work to stop this cycle. We want to see a range of measures improved to put in place the substantial actions we need to stop children growing up in poverty. 

You can read our response to the government’s consultation on the Child Poverty Strategy, which outlines all the changes we want to see to protect children.

More importantly, though, is that we take action to make sure the government hears our concerns.

Take action

There are three ways that you can remind MPs and other politicians of the importance of this issue.

Help ensure that children grow up in warm homes. Our report Behind Cold Doors: The Chilling Reality for Children in Poverty highlights the problem of families who are struggling to meet the costs of heating their homes and the impact on their children who are forced to grow up in a cold home. We are calling on the government to make sure that all families with children living in poverty automatically get the warm home discount rebate - worth £140 in 2014-15 - on their energy bill. Please email your MP and ask the government to ensure no child’s health suffers because of a cold home.

Make sure that young refugees receive sustainable support. Some of the most destitute young people in our society are refugee children who fled to the UK to seek safety. In fact, many of these children are not even included in child poverty statistics. We now have a unique opportunity to change the level of support these children receive. The government must reconsider the levels of financial support provided to asylum seekers because they do not meet basic living needs. The government has until 9 August to make this vital decision. So act now

Expose the devastating impact of debt on children. Our newly published Debt Trap report exposed the impact debt has on children, with an estimated 2.4 million children living in families with problem debt. We need decision makers to recognise this impact and put in place policy change to protect children. Help us lift the lid on this issue by sharing one girl’s story about problem debt.  

By Lucy Dacey - Programme staff

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