The government just congratulated itself for its appalling record on child poverty

Theresa May Child
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On Wednesday 1 March, the government chose to ignore its own record on child poverty, instead opting to praise what it deemed a “success”. But the figures simply don’t add up.

Slow applause

The number of children living in working households has now hit its highest levels for a decade, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It said that 90% of children now live with a working adult, because:

  • Over 17.6 million households now have at least one working adult.
  • Less than 15% of households are classed as workless.

Also, the number of lone parents working rose to 67.9% in 2016, an increase of over 10% since 2010.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green welcomed the figures. He said:

More parents now have the opportunity to find work and enjoy the dignity and security of having a regular wage. We will continue to build on this success as we roll-out Universal Credit to all parts of the country – ensuring that it always pays to be in work.

Meaningless statistics

But the government is conveniently ignoring the figures on child poverty (after housing costs):

  • The number of children in poverty increased by 200,000 in 2014-15 to 3.9 million. Or 28% of children.
  • 34% of children in poverty live in families with three or more children.
  • 66% of children in poverty live in a working household.

And on Tuesday 28 February, a study revealed that children living in the poorest areas of the UK were 10 times more likely to go into care.

Read on...

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The government’s own figures show that work is no route out of poverty. And while zero-hours contracts, the lack of a real living wage, and insecure employment all blight working age people, children will continue to suffer.

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