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The number of children growing up in poverty in working households has risen by 800,000 since 2010, according to new TUC analysis.
  • Number of children living below the breadline – despite being in a working family – has increased by 38% since decade began 

  • London, East of England and West Midlands have suffered biggest increases 

  • Government policies have driven majority of rise, says TUC  

The number of children growing up in poverty in working households has risen by 800,000 since 2010, according to new TUC analysis published today (Monday). 

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 (19%) children in working households were growing up in poverty. In 2018 this had increased to 1 in 4 (24%). 

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. 

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 been the worst hit region 

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.” 

Editors note

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 

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 (%) 

North East 

71,362 

108,775 

37,413 

52 

North West 

241,300 

335,190 

93,890 

39 

Yorkshire and Humberside 

206,827 

217,571 

10,744 

East Midlands 

124,690 

184,085 

59,395 

48 

West Midlands 

191,504 

299,510 

108,006 

56 

Eastern England 

171,637 

268,516 

96,879 

56 

London 

362,448 

609,002 

246,554 

68 

South East 

248,435 

340,996 

92,561 

37 

South West 

179,550 

215,403 

35,853 

20 

Wales 

124,102 

119,693 

-4,409 

-4 

Scotland 

112,075 

121,925 

9,850 

Northern Ireland 

53,404 

59,690 

6,286 

12 

UK total 

2,087,334 

2,880,356 

793,022 

38 

Source: Landman Economics Analysis and modelling for the TUC 

Proportion of children in poverty in working households 

Region 

2010 (%) 

2018 (%) 

North East 

17.3 

25.5 

North West 

20.2 

25.3 

Yorkshire and Humberside 

22.7 

22.0 

East Midlands 

15.5 

21.1 

West Midlands 

19.9 

27.9 

Eastern England 

15.8 

22.7 

London 

25.9 

33.9 

South East 

15.5 

20.0 

South West 

19.7 

21.4 

Wales 

24.6 

22.0 

Scotland 

13.3 

15.1 

Northern Ireland 

15.2 

15.7 

UK total 

19.0 

23.8 

Source: TUC analysis of HBAI data 

  • The tax/benefit model analysis uses the 2017/18 FRS as baseline; the child poverty data for 2010/11 and 2017/18 is taken directly from the HBAI data (which is the same data set as the FRS but published separately).  

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

  • A household is considered to be in relative poverty if its income is less than 60% of median income after housing costs. 

Contact

TUC press office, media@tuc.org.uk  020 7467 1248