27/06/2013

More Children Will Be Forced Into Poverty - Report

Over half a million more children will be forced into poverty by 2015 because of Government fiscal policies and tax and benefit changes, according to a report published today by the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England.

The least fair aspect of welfare reforms and fiscal measures between 2010 and 2015 is that the poorest children are worst hit.

The report, Child Rights Impact Assessment of Budget Decisions: including the 2013 Budget, and the cumulative impact of tax-benefit reforms and reductions in spending on public services 2010 - 2015, is based on a detailed quantitative analysis of the cumulative effects of cuts in public spending and tax and benefit changes. The work was carried out by expert independent economists.

The changes will have the greatest negative impact on families with children who are losing, on average, £41.07 a week. Single parents and those with disabled children are particularly hard hit, with the former losing 7.8% of their income. The income of families with children has been reduced by over twice as much as similar families without children.

Universal Credit and reforms that will come into force by 2015 and 2016 will go some way to offsetting the negative effects of fiscal measures and benefit reforms for some families, but will not cancel all the losses that families have experienced since 2010.

The report sets out the negative effect the changes are having on children against the international duties the Government has signed up to. The evidence suggests that the Government has not complied with the obligation to implement children's rights to the maximum extent of the resources available to it. This is in stark contrast with its stated commitment to reducing child poverty.

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England said: "We commissioned a team of experts to analyse the impact of benefit changes and fiscal measures in accordance with my statutory remit to promote and protect children's rights. The result is the most comprehensive and accurate analysis we have to date on what exactly is happening to the poorest and some of the most vulnerable members of society. It makes uncomfortable reading: they are getting progressively worse off and more children are entering poverty. Ultimately, that means more children going without the basics because their parents and carers cannot afford them."

(CD/JP)

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