Children in working families fall below the poverty line

 

Children living below the poverty line are now twice as likely to come from working families struggling on low incomes and falling wages than those whose parents are unemployed, official figures have revealed.

The number of children growing up in absolute poverty in “breadline Britain” increased by 300,000 last year – an annual increase of 2 per cent, representing the biggest rise in two decades – according to official Department for Work and Pensions figures.

The rise means a total of 2.6 million children are now raised in poverty. After housing costs, the number is even higher, with 3.5 million in families whose incomes are significantly lower than the rest of the population.

Overall, almost a million more people of all ages were driven into poverty over the past year. Campaigners say it is “no coincidence” that the latest 2011/12 figures coincide with a time when almost £1.5bn of targeted support for low-income families was cut.

At the same time, average incomes fell for a second successive year. The median income is now only £427 per week, down from £440 in 2010/11.

The proportion of working families now in poverty has risen dramatically from 43 per cent to 67 per cent since 1996-97. The steepest rise, of six points, came in 2011-12. Although the number has risen since the financial crisis of 2008, the trend began in 2003-04.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “Despite all the talk about ‘scroungers’ and generations of families never working, today’s figures expose comprehensively the myth that the main cause of poverty is people choosing not to work. The truth is that for a growing number of families, work isn’t working. The promise that work would be a route out of poverty has not been kept as wages stagnate and spending cuts have hurt low-income working families.”

Anita Tiessen, deputy executive director of Unicef UK, said that the true picture was “likely to be even higher than the Government’s statistics suggest”, since they didn’t include the latest round of benefit reforms. “In the time period covered by today’s figures, major austerity measures – like cuts to council tax benefit and the introduction of the bedroom tax – had not yet come into force,” she said.

The increase in working poverty was particularly evident for children from one-parent families. The proportion of children with single parents who work part-time but still live in poverty has leapt from one in four to almost one in three in one year. Overall, children from single-parent families are twice as likely to live in poverty as others. Child poverty is calculated as those whose parents’ disposable income is 60 per cent lower than the median.

Incomes of older people continues to rise despite recession

Oliver Wright

Older people have, you might say, had a good recession: A new analysis has revealed that the incomes of people in their 60s and 70s have continued to rise throughout the downturn.

But their grandchildren have been far less fortunate. Income among people in their 20s fell by 12 per cent between 2008 and 2012 - the largest fall of any age group.

The study, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that average incomes fell between 2011–12, 5.8 per cent below their levels in 2009-10. The body’s David Phillips said the research showed that the “face of poverty” had become much younger.

“Whereas in the 1960s and early 1970s the poverty rate for pensioners was around six to eight times as high as for working-age adults without children, by 2011–12 the risks had near enough equalised. Indeed, once housing costs are accounted for, pensioners actually had a substantially lower risk of poverty,” he said.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own