London still has the highest child poverty rate of any British region, a new report said
Despite some relative improvements compared to other areas, the capital still has the highest concentration of children in poor households
Almost 40 percent of children in the Greater London area were living in poverty before the pandemic, according to a new analysis that draws on government statistics and takes into account the capital’s high housing costs.
In a report for the End Child Poverty campaign coalition, Loughborough University researchers found that London has the highest child poverty rate of any UK region and that 14 of the 20 English municipalities with the highest percentage of children in poverty in the capital, including the top eight the list.
While this figure puts the average child poverty rate in the UK at 31 percent, that of Tower Hamlets is 55.8 percent, followed by Newham at 50 percent rate and Barking & Dagenham with 48.1 percent.
The next five highest rates are in Hackney (47.9 percent), Waltham Forest (45.3 percent), Southwark (43.1 percent), Islington (42.7 percent) and Lambeth (42.6 percent). Greenwich, Hounslow, Haringey, Brent, Redbridge and Lewisham are also among the 20 parishes with the highest child poverty rate.
The report’s numbers come from the Department of Labor and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) government dataset on children in low-income families released in March 2020 – the month the pandemic started – which is the percentage of children living in households whose income is less than 60 percent of the median.
Since these statistics do not take local housing costs into account, the researchers created and considered their own “post-housing cost calculation” with local data on rents and house prices. They say this leads to estimates “more sensitive to these costs across the region and over time,” and offsets government numbers that underestimate the impact of low income in areas like London with high housing costs, the researchers say.
Your calculations include data going back to 2014/15. The latest DWP and HMRC figures cover the whole of the UK. Including higher housing costs
London’s overall child poverty rate is estimated at 38 percent, with the next highest in North East England (37 percent), the West Midlands (35 percent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (33 percent). The total for England is 30 percent, for Wales 31 percent and for Scotland 24 percent.
The largest increases in child poverty rates between 2014/15 and 2019/20 were recorded outside the capital, particularly in north-east England and also in Leicester, Bradford, Birmingham and Leeds, partly due to rent increases in the capital during this period, slightly lower than elsewhere.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty, said the government should come up with “a plan to combat child poverty that includes increasing child benefits” following the pandemic and called for an end to plans to reduce universal credit.
Photo by Save The Children.
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