‘Over a quarter of children in care worker households are living in poverty’

The TUC has published analysis showing that high numbers of key worker children are living in poverty.

Child hold woman's hand at a table. She has her head in her hands and there is an open purse on the table with just a few pence spilling out of it.


More than one in four (28.4%) children with social care worker parents are growing up in poverty, according to new TUC analysis.

The analysis – carried out by Landman Economics – shows that 220,000 kids with at least one social care worker as a parent are in poverty. The TUC warns this number is on course to rise to nearly 300,000 by the end of this parliament unless swift action is taken to boost pay and conditions.

In addition to care staff, the TUC says:

  • Nearly a tenth (9.4%) of children with nurses as parents are living below the breadline. This represents over 70,000 children.
  • One in 9=nine (10.8%) children with teaching staff as parents are growing up in poverty. This represents around 100,000 children.
  • One in eight (11.8 %) children of local government workers are growing up in poverty. This represents over 220,000 children.
  • One in four (25%) children with public transport workers as parents have children growing up in poverty. This represents 50,000 children.

Overall, the TUC estimates that one in five (19%) key worker households have children living in poverty. The analysis comes against a backdrop of rising child poverty. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, almost one in three children in the UK are living in poverty, with higher rates for single parent families.

The TUC warns that child poverty rates among key worker households are likely to get worse due to below inflation pay rises.  The TUC says the additional support announced by the Treasury to help families with energy bills will be offset by cuts to real-terms pay and other rising living costs.

The findings are published as workers from across Britain assemble for a mass rally and lobby of MPs in central London tomorrow to demand action on the cost of living and to call for a general election.

The TUC and unions are calling for:

  • Universal credit, benefits and pensions to be updated at least in line with inflation
  • A much higher windfall tax on oil and gas companies
  • Pay to rise across the economy through sector-wide fair pay agreements
  • Key workers in the public sector to be given cost-of-living proofed pay rises
  • A £15 an hour minimum wage as soon as possible

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our amazing key workers risked their lives to get us through the pandemic. The very least they deserve is to be able to provide for their families. But many have been trapped in poverty and abandoned by this government.

“The Conservatives’ decision to hold down wages – as living costs soar – is causing rampant hardship. We can’t go on like this. We can’t be a country where bankers are allowed to help themselves to bigger bonuses, while nurses and care staff are forced to use foodbanks. There must be a general election now.”

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