28 Jun 2016

Responding to official statistics showing 200,000 more children are now living in poverty, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'These figures are truly dreadful. The Government was repeatedly warned of the likely consequences of reducing support for the poorest people in the country and now we can see the results. Austerity has bitten hard, with an additional 200,000 children living below the poverty line. More children face missing out on hot meals, sleeping in cold bedrooms and being bullied at school. In the longer term, too many young people risk being denied a fair start and left behind, with life-changing consequences.

'The Government promotes getting families back to work as the best way of tackling child poverty, but the reality is that two thirds of children in poverty now live in working families. The four-year freeze to tax credits already in the pipeline will only make things worse. It is crucial that the Government recognises the importance of income to make sure that when parents move into work they move out of poverty.

'The situation is made even more stark by the economic uncertainty that the country faces after last Thursday’s referendum result. Children did not have a role in that decision and their interests must be safeguarded first and foremost when deciding what happens next.

'The publication of these figures must prompt urgent action to protect the well-being of children. Whoever ends up leading the Government must rule out further welfare cuts in another emergency budget that would punish the poorest families and inevitably drag more children into poverty.'

Headline stats:
• 3.9m children now living in poverty after housing costs
• 29% of children now living in poverty
• Rise of 200k children living in families below 50% of median income meaning that more children are living in even deeper poverty
• 66% of children in poverty have at least one parent in work, up from 62% 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 2014/15, published by the Department for Work and Pensions on 28 June 2016, are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201415
• 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.