1.5m more children will be in poverty due to austerity reforms, says EHRC



One and half million more children will be in poverty as a result of changes to taxes and social security made between 2010 and 2018 with the rate of single parent families in poverty rising from 37% to over 62%, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The report, which looks at the impact reforms from 2010 to 2018 will have on various groups across society in 2021 to 2022, says that children will be hardest hit and that households with three or more children will see particularly large losses of around £5,600.

The report also finds that households with at least one disabled adult and a disabled child will lose over £6,500 a year, over 13% of their annual income; that 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; that lone parents will lose an average of £5,250 a year, almost one-fifth of their annual income; and that women will lose about £400 per year on average, while men will only lose £30.

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

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

The Commission is also reiterating its call for government to reconsider existing policies that are contributing to negative financial impacts for those who are most disadvantaged and review the level of welfare benefits to ensure that they provide an adequate standard of living.


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