Majority of British children will soon be growing up in families struggling 'below the breadline', Government warned

 

The majority of British children will soon be growing up in families which are struggling “below the breadline” because of welfare cuts, tax rises and wage freezes, the Government is warned today.

Within two years, almost 7.1m of the nation’s 13m youngsters will be in homes with incomes judged to be less than the minimum necessary for a decent standard of living, according to a new report.

The figures, which emerged a week ahead of George Osborne’s Budget, suggest that an unwanted legacy of the Coalition’s squeeze on spending will be to leave more children living close to poverty.

They coincide with a new survey for the Resolution Foundation think-tank, which found that almost seven in ten of people believe the Government does not understand the financial strains they face.

The impact on children of the economic downturn and austerity measures was underlined by an analysis that concluded that the number of under-18s living in households below minimum income standards would increase by 690,000 between 2010 and 2015. The definitions of acceptable living standards are drawn up by the respected charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Today’s report said 460,000 children would be pushed below those levels by the increase in VAT and cuts to tax credits, 170,000 by sluggish wage growth and 80,000 by the curbs on public sector pay. Just 20,000 would be raised above the minimum level by the new Universal Credit system, which begins to come into force in October.

The TUC, which commissioned the research by the economist Howard Reed, said the figures should “shame” any civilised society and challenged Mr Osborne to cut VAT to ease the pressures on the lowest income families.

By 2015, a lone parent with one child is calculated to require an annual income of £19,226 to have a decent standard of living, rising to £23,992 for a lone parent with two children, £24,643 for a couple with one child and £29,093 if they have two children. But Mr Reed calculated that 54 per cent of youngsters will be living in households with income below those levels in two years’ time.

His report concluded that 90 per cent of families will be worse off in 2015 than in 2010.

Only the poorest ten per cent will be better-off – and then by £29.60 a year, or 57p a week. The boost they received from raising tax thresholds has been virtually wiped out by the increase in VAT to 20 per cent in 2011.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said: “Families are suffering the tightest squeeze in living standards in nearly a century. On top of wages that do not keep up with prices, government policies are making life even more miserable for millions of low to middle-income families through tax increases and cuts in benefits and tax credits.

“By the 2015 election, the majority of children in Britain will be living below the breadline. For any civilised society, that should be shaming.”

The Department of Work and Pensions accused the TUC of choosing an “arbitrary measure to support their own point of view”. A spokesman said the Government was committed to eradicating child poverty by tackling its root causes including unemployment, educational failure and family breakdown. 

He added: “Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit making three million people better off. And by next year, we will have taken two million of the lowest earners out of paying tax altogether."

In the Resolution Foundation poll, 69 per cent of people thought the Government did not understand the “financial pressures” they and their families were experiencing. The sentiment was shared across all income and class brackets in the poll conducted by Ipsos MORI.

Just 19 per cent said they believed ministers appreciated the pressures they were under.

Vidhya Alakeson, the foundation’s deputy chief executive, said: “Faltering prosperity is a key issue not only for the government of the day but for all political parties as we approach an election in two years’ time.

The TUC will stage a pre-Budget rally today at which it will urge the Chancellor to focus on jobs, growth and family next week.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, will tell the gathering: “Austerity is OK if you are rich. It’s OK if you are one of the 13,000 millionaires in this country because austerity means you get richer. That’s because if you are rich, you’re in line for an extra £100,000 tax break, taken from the pockets of the poor.”

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
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

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

C# asp.net Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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