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14 Oct 2014

Loughborough University research reveals variation in child poverty across UK

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Research undertaken by Loughborough University for The Campaign to End Child Poverty published today (Wednesday 15 October) shows big variations in child poverty across the UK.

The new figures, complied by the University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), provide a child poverty map of the whole of the UK. The figures are broken down by parliamentary constituency, local authority and ward.

The figures reveal the wide disparity in poverty rates across the UK, between regions and striking variations even within regions. London scores badly - containing ten of the top 20 constituencies with the highest child poverty rates in the UK and 14 of the 20 highest-rate local authorities.  However there is variation within regions. For example, in London, Bethnal Green and Bow has a child poverty rate of 49% compared to 15% in Richmond upon Thames. 

In the local authority with the worst child poverty rate – Tower Hamlets - the proportion of children in poverty is almost half  (49%). Wokingham and Shetland Islands are the local authorities with the lowest rates (10%).

At a more local level, the map reveals more significant concentrations of child poverty: in 16 local wards, the majority of children are poor.

In 87 constituencies, the estimated child poverty level on the Government’s before housing costs measure is below 10%, the target set for 2020 in the Child Poverty Act.  But in many of these better-off areas, housing costs are high.  On an after housing costs measure, only two constituencies have rates below 10% - Sheffield Hallam and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardin.

Chair of End Child Poverty David Holmes said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities, even those areas generally regarded as well off. Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are suffering as a result and missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to. We can and must do better for our children.  

“Poverty ruins childhoods and reduces life chances. Failing to invest properly in children is a false economy: already child poverty costs the country £29bn each year and in the long run taxpayers will foot an even higher bill for correcting the damage. 

“We are calling on politicians of all parties to urgently set out a clear roadmap towards ending child poverty which includes the additional actions neededand the measures by which progress will be tracked."

Donald Hirsch, Director of CRSP and an author of the report said:  “As well as drawing attention to some of the worst concentrations of child poverty in the UK’s big conurbations, our calculations highlight pockets of deprivation throughout the country.  For example in the East Midlands, in some parts of Leicester and Nottingham nearly half of children are in families who in poverty, once their housing costs have been taken into account.”

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 14/185

(1) In January 2014, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published projections showing that under current policies child poverty will rise from 2.3m (2011-12) to 3.2m by 2020 on the statutory Before Housing Costs measure. The Government says it is on course to end child poverty by 2020.  On the After Housing Costs measure, the IFS projected child poverty would increase from 3.5m (2011-12) to 4.6m by 2020. IFS predictions for child and working-age poverty from 2010 to 2020 can be found here http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn144.pdf

(2) Polling by You Gov last year uncovered strong public concern about poverty across the political spectrum.

(3) The full national report and can be obtained on request from the Campaign (see contact details below) and is available on the campaign’s website on 15 October 2014.

(4)  These estimates have been complied for End Child Poverty by Donald Hirsch and Laura Valadez, Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), Loughborough University using a methodology introduced for this year’s figures to better reflect both out of work and in work child poverty levels. The estimates are based on official benefit and HMRC tax credit data and have been adjusted to reflect unemployment rates and the differing risks of child poverty for in and out of work families. A more detailed explanation is contained in the report. 

(5) Ward level data sheets for UK regions can be provided on request. The local data has been produced to correspond as closely as possible to the official definition of poverty used by the government in its regional and national data. However, direct comparisons between the two data sets should not be made (a full explanation of the methodology can be found in the report).

(6)  A representative of the End Child Poverty Campaign will be available for comment in national media. There will also be regional spokespeople available – for details see the contacts section at the end of the notes.

(7) The Government has legal duties under the Child Poverty Act 2010 to reduce child poverty to a series of targets across a set of measures by 2020. Every three years the government must publish a child poverty strategy setting out how it will do this. The government’s current child poverty strategy, for 2014 to 2017, can be found online.

(8) The Campaign to End Child Poverty (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of more than 150 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty.

(9) The Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) is an autonomous research centre based in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University.

(10) Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

Contact for all media enquiries

Alison Barlow
Senior Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228696
E: A.J.Barlow@lboro.ac.uk

Additional contact information

Jane Ahrends
End Child Poverty
T: 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302
E: jahrends@cpag.org.uk

UK national media only
(regional contacts also available)