Child poverty in the UK: A few facts

Published by the Child Poverty Action Group

*There were 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2013-14. That’s 28 per cent of children, or nine in a classroom of 30.
* London is the area with the highest rates of child poverty in the country. You can see child poverty rates by local area by visiting
*Child poverty reduced dramatically between 1998/9-2011/12 when 1.1 million children were lifted out of poverty. Since 2010, child poverty figures have flat-lined. The number of children in absolute poverty has increased by 5 million since 2010.
* As a direct result of tax and benefit decisions made since 2010, the Institute for Fiscal Studies project the number of children in relative poverty will have risen from 3.6m to 4.3 million by 2020.
*Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (64 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works.
* Children in large families are at a far greater risk of living in poverty. 35% of children in poverty live in families with three or more children.
* Families experience poverty for many reasons, but its fundamental cause is not having enough money to cope with the circumstances in which they are living. A family might move into poverty because of a rise in living costs, a drop in earnings through job loss or benefit changes.
* Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 60 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.
* Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By GCSE, there is a 28 per cent gap between children receiving free school meals and their wealthier classmates in terms of the number achieving at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades.
* Poverty is also related to more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, influencing earnings as well as the overall quality – and indeed length – of life. Men in the most deprived areas of England have a life expectancy 9.2 years shorter than men in the least deprived areas. They also spend 14% less of their life in good health. Women share similar statistics.
* Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year. Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.
* Childcare and housing are two of the costs that take the biggest toll on families’ budgets. When you account for childcare costs, an extra 130,000 children are pushed into poverty.

Top doctor: social inequality in UK costing 550 lives every day

Sir Michael Marmot, soon to be president of World Medical Association, says hundreds of thousands are dying

More than 200,000 people in the UK are dying prematurely because of social inequalities that risk becoming entrenched, a top doctor has said.

Sir Michael Marmot, who had advised the coalition on the link between health and wealth, warned that research revealed a stark “social gradient” emerging in Britain. The poor not only die on average seven years sooner than the rich, but they can expect to face becoming disabled 17 years earlier. The middle classes in the country had life expectancies of eight years less than the very richest.

However, it was in the field of education where Marmot said the research vividly showed how unfair life was becoming. “If everybody had the same mortality of those with a university education, then [each year] we could prevent 202,000 premature deaths. “If this was caused by a pollutant, there would be people on the streets saying ‘stop it now’. The irony is that the cause is pin-pointable. It is the inequalities in the conditions [in which] we are born, grow, live, work and age, and it’s damaging the health of us all. It is costing us 550 lives a day in the UK alone.”

In his new book, The Health Gap, he argues that those who blame lifestyles miss the point. “Over 30 years, smoking levels have declined while obesity has soared. Have we become more responsible when it comes to smoking and less responsible when it comes to obesity. No.”

There is little doubt that inequality has become a feature of British life. Since 1980, the share of total income received by the top one per cent of Britain has almost doubled, to about 13% in 2011, reversing a three-decades-long trend towards greater equality.

This when, the academic pointed out, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found at least 8.1 million parents and children living on incomes below what is needed to cover a minimum household budget, up by more than a third from 5.9 million in 2009.

Marmot, who is about to become president of the World Medical Association, criticised the “austerity agenda” of many politicians, saying that the Office of Budget Responsibility had pointed out it had cut 5% from GDP. He warned that a proposed £200m cut to public health budgets at such a time was a “very bad thing”. He also questioned the government’s plans to raise the pension age past 66 and link it to life expectancy.

Recent data showed the average age to which people could expect to remain in good health was around 64 for men and 66 for women. Sir Michael pointed out that average life expectancy figures mask a 16-year variation between those in the best- and worst-off neighbourhoods. By the age of 68, nearly two-thirds of people in England had a disability that could make it difficult to stay in work.

Read more here:

Treating UK tourists in Europe costs five times more than equivalent cost to NHS

Critics say figures obtained under Freedom of Information Act ‘puncture a big hole’ in claims that health tourism is costing Britain


The cost of treating British people who become ill while travelling in Europe is five times higher than the cost of treating ill visitors from other European countries in the UK, official figures show.

The Department of Health data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that it cost £30m in 2013-14 to meet the costs of European visitors using the National Health Service. This is less than one-fifth of the £155m cost to other states in the European single market for treating ill British tourists.

The figures for costs are for the medical treatment of European Economic Area tourists under the European health insurance card (Ehic) and cover visitors rather than residents or temporary migrants, but critics say they “puncture a big hole” in claims that health tourism is costing Britain dearly.

A £200-a-year health “surcharge” was introduced this week for all new migrants from outside the EEA who stay in the UK for longer than six months. The surcharge, which is £150 a year for overseas students, is payable upfront andcovers migrants for the duration of their visa.

Ministers have said the Department of Health is working on plans to charge those non-EU patients who are not subject to the health surcharge 150% of the cost of NHS treatment. EU migrants working in Britain pay for NHS treatment through their tax and national insurance contributions.

read the rest of this Guardian article here:

UK ‘is first country to face UN inquiry into disability rights violations’

The UK government appears to have become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee, as a result of “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

The committee has the power to launch an inquiry if it receives “reliable information” that such violations have been committed by a country signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and its optional protocol.

read the rest of this article from the Welfare News Service here:

Britain’s poor are poorer than ever

The poorest 20 percent of UK households earn just $9,530 annually, a dramatically lower rate than in other countries with a similar average income, according to new research.

Few Britons would probably agree with the observation that “life is much worse (in the UK) than it is for the poorest fifth in virtually every other northwest European country,” but that is exactly the conclusion the High Pay Centre, an independent British think-tank, has made in a newly released study.

Using figures from the OECD Better Life Index, the report shows that average UK household incomes of $53,785, which makes up the wealthiest 20 percent in the UK, ranked third in EU countries, lagging behind Germany and France.

But that is where the economic similarities between the UK and the EU come to a screeching halt.

The OECD estimates the average income of the bottom 20 percent of UK households at just $9,530, which is significantly lower than the poorest 20 percent in France ($12,653), Germany ($13,381), Belgium ($12,350), the Netherlands ($11,274) and Denmark ($12,183).

The report revealed Britain’s rapid decline from economic equality in just a few decades.

“Since 1960, Britain has gone from being more economically equal than Sweden to being one of the most unequal countries in the developed world,” according to the High Pay Centre. “Of the 32 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only Portugal, Israel, the United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile are more unequal than the UK.”

Source: High Pay Centre study

Source: High Pay Centre study

In fact, the think-tank said marginalized UK living standards are much closer to those of former Eastern bloc countries, such as Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

Read the rest of this article in the RT here:

Income Inequality Soars With Five UK Families Wealthier Than Bottom 20%

The UK’s five richest families have more cash between them than the poorest 20% of the entire population, 12.6 million Britons, with new research showing the chasm between rich and poor is growing wider.

The gap between the rich and the rest has grown significantly over the last two decades, according to new figures published today by Oxfam.

In the last 20 years, the wealthiest 0.1 percent have seen their income grow nearly four times faster than the least well off 90 percent of the population.

The five richest families in Britain have a combined wealth of £28.2 billion, according to Forbes, and the poorest 20% of the UK population, 12.6 million people,have a combined wealth of £28.1 billion.

Those families and individuals are:

  • Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor & family (£13bn)
  • David & Simon Reuben (£11.5bn)
  • The Hinduja Brothers (£10bn)
  • Charles Cadogan & family (£6.9bn)
  • Michael Ashley (£5.5bn)

In real terms, that means a wealthy elite have seen their income grow by £24,000 a year, enough to buy a small yacht or a sports car, whilst the bottom 90% of Britons’ incomes have gone up by only a few pounds a week. The average UK salary is £26,500r.

Ben Phillips, Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, whilst millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

Oxfam has called for this week’s Budget to show a redoubling of efforts to clamp down on companies and individuals who avoid paying tax and a hike in the minimum wage to a living wage.

The findings echo a previous report report published ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, which revealed revealed that the richest 85 people on the planet own the same amount between them as half the world’s population – 3.5 billion people.

by Jessica Elgot in the Huffington Post, 17th March 2014. Read the rest of this article here: