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The number of children growing up in poverty in working households is set to be one million higher this year than in 2010, according to new TUC research.
The analysis estimates that 3.1 million children with working parents will be below the official breadline in 2018, compared to 2.1 million at the start of the decade. It says children with at least one working parent will account for two-thirds of children living in poverty in 2018.
The analysis shows that 600,000 children with working parents have been pushed into poverty as a result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts and public sector pay restrictions. The TUC says that other key factors behind the rise in child poverty are weak wage growth, the spread of insecure work, population growth and the increase in working families.
The TUC says the research shows the impact of public sector pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts on household incomes. It states that families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes and that their average household income has fallen by £83 a week in real terms. It says households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector have lost, on average, £53 a week while households with private sector workers only have seen their incomes fall by £32 a week on average.
The East Midlands is set to have the biggest increase in child poverty among working families, followed by the West Midlands and Northern Ireland.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Child poverty in working households has shot up since 2010. Years of falling incomes and benefit cuts have had a terrible human cost. Millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids.
“The government is in denial about how many working families just can’t make ends meet. We need ministers to boost the minimum wage now, and use the social security system to make sure no child grows up in a family struggling to get by.”
Figures reported in April show a rise in people accessing food banks. Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64%