3.5m children predicted to be in poverty by 2020 - Home News - UK - The Independent

3.5m children predicted to be in poverty by 2020

Charities say scale of the problem is  ‘a stain on  the national conscience’

The level of child poverty in Britain is “a stain on our national conscience”, leading charities have said as a Government adviser warns today that its reforms are failing to tackle the problem.

While the economy may be improving and home-owners are benefiting from rising prices, a shocking report published today by the nation’s social mobility tsar predicts that Britain will have 3.5 million children living in poverty by 2020.

In further evidence of the hardship faced by families across the country, a separate study to be published today shows that food charities provided more than 20 million meals last year to people in the UK who could not afford to feed themselves. The figure, from Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust, represents a 54 per cent increase on the previous year.

The former Health Secretary Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, accuses the Government of reneging on its pledge to end the phenomenon.

Mr Milburn said: “The Government’s approach falls far short of what is needed to reduce, yet alone end, child poverty in our country. Our new research shows that the gap between the objective of making child poverty history and the reality is becoming ever wider.”

Research carried out for the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission reveals that the 2020 target for abolishing child poverty will be missed by a large margin.

The commission’s report did find some positive things in the strategy, including the extension of childcare support for low-income families and a greater acknowledgement of the problem of working poverty.

Alison Garnham, the chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “The Coalition established the commission as an expert watchdog on child poverty, so when it says the Government’s child poverty strategy lacks credibility, ministers must do something about it.

“Getting more parents into work, improving job security and increasing the minimum wage are all essential, but as the commission’s new research shows, it’s not enough.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We remain committed to our goal of ending child poverty by 2020.”

A documentary to be aired on Channel 4 tonight, Dispatches: Breadline Kids, will reveal the desperate situation for children whose parents are struggling to scrape together enough for a meal. One mother featured on the programme, who is living on benefits with two daughters, has just £3.60 a day to spend on food.

Research to be published today by a coalition of charities reveals a dramatic increase in reliance on food banks. Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust say the 54 per cent annual rise in meals handed out is a damning indictment of an increasingly unequal Britain where five families have the same wealth as the poorest 20 per cent of the population.

Mark Goldring, the chief executive of Oxfam, said: “Food banks provide invaluable support for families on the breadline but the fact they are needed in 21st-century Britain is a stain on our national conscience. Why is the Government not looking into this?

“We truly are living through a tale of two Britains; while those at the top of the tree may be benefiting from the green shoots of economic recovery, life on the ground for the poorest is getting tougher.”

CASE STUDY: The family and the food bank

Holly Jones, 29, from Chichester, West Sussex, had to go to a food bank to feed her daughter, Phoebe, five.

I set up a shop selling second-hand children’s clothes but it wasn’t making any money. Then in January Phoebe went into hospital and I had to shut it temporarily. It turned out to be a bad bout of tonsillitis and she was in hospital for several nights.

I’d raided the shop float to pay for hospital parking and when we came home we had nothing to eat or drink. I had to raid Phoebe’s piggy bank, which had 70p in it, for milk. My mum gave us dinner that night and the next morning I went to the food bank.

I went in there feeling mortified. The people sent us to Citizens Advice to get a voucher, and then we got food. Now I have an extra part-time job in telesales and Phoebe has finally been able to go to a friend’s birthday party this week. Before, I couldn’t take her to any because I couldn’t afford a present for the child.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week