Number of children in poverty increased by 250,000 under Conservatives, figures show

'More and more children are being left behind in poverty, missing out on the childhoods and life chances other kids take for granted'

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The number of children living in poverty soared by 250,000 in just one year under the Conservative-led Government, new figures have shown.

HM Revenue and Customs figures obtained by the Daily Mirror show the number of children living in low-income families rose from 2.5m to 2.75m between 2013 and 2014. 

This meant that during the last Coalition Government the proportion of children living in families which have fallen below the poverty line reached one in five.

The HMRC report defined children in low-income households as those from families in receipt of out-of-work benefits or those in receipt of tax credits with an income of less than 60 per cent of the national average.

It said the figures were down to rise in lower incomes failing to keep pace with the rise in higher pay and insisted the data did not reflect a real terms fall. 

But campaigners accused the Government of failing to protect vulnerable children.

Imran Hussein, director of policy for the Child Poverty Action Group, told the newspaper: “Child poverty figures are the best measure we have for whether we really are ‘all in it together’.

“What’s clear from these grim figures is that more and more children are being left behind in poverty, missing out on the childhoods and life chances other kids take for granted.”

It comes after the Government lost a vote in the House of Lords earlier this year to redefine child poverty.

Peers blocked an attempt by the Government to include a provision in the Welfare Bill that will abolish the requirement for the government to publish annual figures on income-related child poverty.

Ministers had wanted to scrap the income measurements and replace them with other indicators such as the number of children living in workless households.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, two-thirds of children living in poverty live in households where at least one parent works. 

A Government spokesman said: “The Government is committed to delivering a country that works for everyone – not just the privileged few.

“This includes taking action to help the most disadvantaged through tackling the root causes, not just the symptoms, of poverty.”

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