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Majority of poor British kids live in working families, study says

16 July 2015 23:45



A new study on living standards reveals that nearly two-thirds of poor children in Britain live in working families.

The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, IFS, an economic think tank, shows there has been no decline in the number of children in absolute poverty since 2009.  It says the proportion of such children, has rather, gone up from 54% to 63% over the past five years.

Kids playing in a deprived area of London

The IFS has contradicted government assertions that worklessness is a cause of poverty and jobs help eliminate poverty. “This makes sense, but tackling low living standards will be difficult without improvements for working families,” Robert Joyce, senior research economist and co-author of the report, said.

“I think the new study absolutely shows the government pays totally something unsustainable to say that they are going to bring children out of poverty through work. To be able to do that you need a living wage much higher than set by the government. What we have in the budget will not be a living wage but would be a very slight piece to already existing minimum wage. So the only thing that’s going to make a major difference is that there’s a sustained drive in living standard to most working people”, Alan Gibbons, Award Winning Children’s Author told Press TV.

‘Countering welfare claim’

The IFS has also countered the government’s claim that a new national living wage and increasing tax thresholds will help move the country from a low-wage, high-tax and high-welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare society.



Stephen Creswell Timms, Labour Party MP has criticized the conservative government:  “This IFS report shows that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne have overseen a huge increase in the number of children in poverty who live in working families”.

Timms said the government needs to “tackle low pay rather than attacking the low-paid with tax credit cuts.”

Analysts say the new plans will undoubtedly favor high earners but these are the poor who have to bear the brunt of the cuts.

“The poor, particular the working poor are going to be very heavily hit by the change in the budget. We have the two children rule. Even if you look at the capping, it’s going to punish children not parents for number of children they have. Children in absolute poverty according to recent studies have increased from 19% to 21%.  13 million people are going to be hit and 3 millions are going to live at around 1000 pounds. So this looks an incredibly regressive budget towards the poor. And there are children who suffer the most”, Gibbons said.

Labour pledges to fight child poverty

Charity groups have also expressed concerns over the report. Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group warned the planned cuts will see an increase in the number of poor kids.

“A strong economy and rising employment have masked the growing problem of in-work poverty”. Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said.

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