Another two million UK children will be living in poverty in 15 years time if the Government continues its current policies, a new analysis has said.
The calculations by Landman Economics and the Fabian Society however suggest that the incomes of the richest will increase significantly over the same period.
The study of policies introduced since the 2015 general election and their impact over the long-term if left unchanged found that the proceeds of any growth will overwhelmingly be distributed to the country’s richest, the report’s authors say.
They point out that cuts to in-work benefits scheduled to come in with the new Universal Credit system will reduce the income of the poorest workers, and that the National Living Wage will do little to offset these cuts.
The total number of people in poverty is expected to rise by 3.6 million with 1.9 of that increase being children.
This amounts to 22 per cent of all people living in poverty, up from 20 per cent.
The incomes of the bottom 10 per cent in society are expected to rise by only £90 by 2030 – while the incomes of the top 10 per cent per cent are expected to be £14,500 higher.
Previous analyses and official figures have shown some Government policies having a detrimental effect on the welfare of the poorest.
Rough sleeping rose by 55 per cent under the Coalition government, according to official figures. David Cameron said during the election campaign it was down, however.
Food bank use also grew dramatically during Mr Cameron’s first five years, with a million people now reliant on the charitable orgnaisations. The Government says this is because it is signposting more people to the services, including at Jobcentres.
The Government has met its child poverty targets but Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has moved to scrap the current measure. Ministers claim the current target does not accurately reflect material poverty.
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
Andrew Harrop, the general secretary of the Fabian Society, said the distribution of wealth was a political choice the the Government made.
“If decisions made this year go unchanged, more British children will be hungry at Christmas 2030 than today,” he said.
“We will live in a country where food banks are an entrenched part of everyday life, not a response to short-term crisis. Is that the gift we want to leave the next generation?
“In the 15 years up to 2009 the incomes of rich and poor increased in proportion to each other because the Labour government chose to share the proceeds of growth.
“In contrast, the current government has chosen to cut taxes for people near the top of the income distribution and cut social security for people at the middle and bottom.”
The Chancellor George Osborne has delayed the introduction of its cuts to in work benefits by cancelling cuts to tax credits laid out in the summer budget.
However, similar cuts are scheduled to apply to Universal Credit – a new benefits system the Government wants all claimants to eventually use.
Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, on Sunday warned that the current policy on in-work benefits would “merely defer the pain” for low-income families.
“As the economy strengthens, the Government should look to reverse cuts to universal credit so that this key welfare reform can improve work incentives. It should take the opportunity in 2016 to set out a timetable for doing so,” he said.