The number of children growing up in poverty in working households has risen by 800,000 since 2010, when the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power.
The analysis reveals that child poverty in working families rose to 2.9 million in 2018 – an increase of 38% since the start of the decade.
In 2010, 1 in 5 children in working households were growing up in poverty. By 2018 this had increased to 1 in 4.
Government policies account for majority of rise in child poverty
The analysis shows that government policies account for the majority of the increase in-work poverty. The analysis includes all tax and social security measures introduced under the 2010-15 coalition government and subsequent conservative governments, including Universal Credit.
More than 485,000 children in working households have been pushed below the breadline as a direct result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts.
The TUC says that other key factors behind the rise in child poverty are:
- Weak wage growth
- The spread of insecure work
- Population growth
- The rise in the number of working households hasn’t been enough to lift families out of poverty
London has suffered the biggest increase in child poverty (+68%) among working families followed by the West Midlands (+56%) and East England (+56%).
Abolition of child poverty targets
In 2016 the Conservatives abolished the Child Poverty Act and scrapped targets to reduce poverty.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“No child in Britain should be growing up in poverty. But millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. That is not right.
“The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy.
“We need a government that puts working families first, not wealthy donors and hedge funds.”
The TUC is calling on all political parties to:
- Raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour
- Stop and scrap Universal Credit
- Ban zero-hours contracts
- Give workers new rights to join unions and bargain for better pay and conditions across industries
Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“The Conservatives and Lib Dems should hang their heads in shame for nine years of austerity which has left working families struggling to feed their children, as shown by these new shocking figures.
“How we care for and protect our children is a mark of a civilised society. The TUC’s figures show just how badly Conservative and Lib Dem coalition governments have failed them.
“Labour will make tackling child poverty the priority it should be. We will provide 30 hours free childcare a week to all 2-4 year olds, free school meals to all primary school children and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for workers aged 16 and over.”
Increase in number of children living in poverty in working households since 2010 (nation/region)
|Region||Number of children in poverty in 2010||Number of children in poverty in 2018||Extra children in poverty (000s)||Extra children in poverty (%)|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||206,827||217,571||10,744||5|
Source: Landman Economics Analysis and modelling for the TUC
Proportion of children in poverty in working households
|Region||2010 (%)||2018 (%)|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||22.7||22.0|
Source: TUC analysis of HBAI data