Issue date
15 Feb 2018

1 in 7 children (550,000) with a parent working in the public sector will be living in poverty by the end of this financial year, according to new TUC analysis published today (Thursday).

The research shows that since 2010 an extra 150,000 children have been pushed below the breadline as a result of the government’s public sector pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts.

The analysis shows:  

  • 1 in 7 children (550,000) living with a public sector worker in their family will be below the poverty line this April – an increase of 40% since 2010. 
  • Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes. Their average household income will be down around £83 a week in real terms by April 2018.
  • Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £53 a week.
  • The South West (+55%) has seen the biggest increase in child poverty rates among families with a public sector worker in England. Its followed by the North West (+51%) and East Midlands (+50%).

Separate TUC analysis shows that holding down public servants’ pay reduced spending power by £8.5bn in England alone last year.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The government's pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts are causing needless hardship.

“Public servants shouldn’t have to worry about feeding or clothing their kids. But many are struggling to afford even the basics.

“Ministers must give public sector workers the pay rise they have earned. If they don't more families will fall into poverty.”

ENDS

Editors note

Number of UK children living in poverty with public sector parent

Household type

Number of children in poverty under 2010 system

Number of children in poverty by 2018 under government policies

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (000s)

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (%)

Public sector workers only

217,512

321,262

103,750

48%

Public and private sector workers

180,771

236,233

55,462

31%

TOTAL

398,283

557,495

159,212

40%

Increase in number of children living in poverty with public sector parent since 2010 (nation/region)

Region

Number of children in poverty under 2010 system

Number of children in poverty by 2018 under government policies

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (000s)

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (%)

North East

13,025

17,792

4,767

37%

North West

34,289

51,785

17,496

51%

East Midlands

27,845

41,884

14,039

50%

West Midlands

29,354

45,297

15,943

54%

East of England

38,362

49,712

11,350

30%

London

82,660

100,350

17,690

21%

South East

48,342

63,437

15,095

31%

South West

27,749

42,951

15,202

55%

Yorkshire

34,965

49,415

14,450

41%

England

336,591

462,623

126,032

37%

Scotland

26,654

42,582

15,928

60%

Wales

21,341

31,231

9,890

46%

Northern Ireland

13,697

21,059

7,362

53%

Weekly cash loss from public sector pay restrictions and benefit cuts

Household type

Weekly loss (£)

Public sector workers only

-£83.03

Public and private sector workers

-£53.26

– The public sector pay analysis is modelled on real wages falling by 13.3% between 2010 and 2018 for workers in health and education. And by 14.3% for workers in public administration.

– The analysis includes all tax and social security measures introduced under the 2010-15 coalition government and subsequent conservative governments, including Universal Credit.

– An individual is considered to be in relative poverty if their household income is less than 60% of median income.