New Government figures show child poverty ‘not inevitable’
The North East Child Poverty Commission is hopeful that new Government figures could prove child poverty is not ‘inevitable’
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New data published by the government has shown child poverty is “not inevitable” but the North East Child Poverty Commission has said it is up to the actions of the government to ensure that.
Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions show that in the year 2020/21, 3.9 million babies, young people and children were living in poverty across the UK.
The 27% figure had shown a drop of 400,000 when compared to figures from 2019/20.
A reduction to child poverty figures could be due to Government interventions including a £20 increase per week to Universal Credit, which was subsequently removed in October 2021.
Families receiving Universal Credit and other benefits are facing a 3.1% increase in this support from April, with inflation leading to prices of food, energy, bills and fuel increasing.
Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission Amanda Bailey said: “Today’s figures clearly demonstrate that child poverty is not inevitable – and that action can be taken relatively swiftly and efficiently to support family incomes, if the political will exists.
“However, the data published today is already a year out of date – and the key measure to protect those on the lowest incomes from further hardship has already been removed.
“Instead of concerted action to support children and young people during the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation, thousands of families across the North East have effectively been cut adrift.
“As an immediate step, the Chancellor must ensure that benefits keep pace with inflation next month – and he should restore the £20 a week cut from Universal Credit to ensure families in our region can keep their heads above water.”
The UK’s independent Resolution Foundation has said child poverty rates could rise to numbers “not seen since the record-breaking 1990s,” with 33% of children forecast to be living in poverty by 2026/27.
Latest data available for the North East has shown an average of 37% of youngsters, babies and children were growing up in poverty, whereas in 2019/20, the UK figure was 31%.