William Eichler 14 March 2018

Government cuts force over a million children into poverty

Government cuts force over a million children into poverty image

One and a half million more children will be in poverty by 2022 due to the Government’s austerity agenda, commission reveals.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today published a cumulative impact assessment of Government policy from 2010 to 2018.

Assessing how Whitehall’s reforms will affect various groups by 2021-22, the commission discovered children will be hit the hardest.

It found an extra one and a half million children will be in poverty by 2022 and households with three or more children will see large losses of around £5,600 by the same year.

The report also revealed the child poverty rate for those in lone parent households will increase from 37% to over 62% in the next four years.

The commission found households with at least one disabled adult and a disabled child will lose over £6,500 a year - over 13% of their annual income.

Lone parents will lose an average of £5,250 a year - almost one-fifth of their annual income - by 2022, and women will lose about £400 per year on average, while men will only lose £30.

Bangladeshi households will lose around £4,400 a year, in comparison to ‘White’ households, or households with adults of differing ethnicity, which will only lose between £500 and £600 on average.

The negative impacts are largely driven by changes to the benefit system, the commission reported; in particular the freeze in working-age benefit rates, changes to disability benefits, and reductions in Universal Credit rates.

‘It’s disappointing to discover that the reforms we have examined negatively affect the most disadvantaged in our society,’ said David Isaac, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

‘It’s even more shocking that children – the future generation – will be the hardest hit and that so many will be condemned to start life in poverty. We cannot let this continue if we want a fairer Britain.

‘We are keen to work together with government to achieve its vision of a Britain that works for everyone. To achieve this outcome it is essential that a full cumulative impact analysis is undertaken of all current and future tax and social security policies.

‘We have proved it’s possible and urge the Government to follow our lead and work with us to deliver it.’

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