British trade unions find more children are victims of in-work poverty

There are now 1 million more children growing up in poverty in the UK than in 2010 – and two-thirds of them are in working families.

A new study commissioned by the TUC in Britain shows how government benefit cuts have increased in-work poverty. It estimates that 3.1 million children will be living below the breadline in the UK this year. Government policies have driven 600,000 more children with working parents into poverty.

The analysis by Landman Economics finds that families where both parents are working in the public sector have been hit hardest. Changes to in-work benefits and harsh public sector pay restrictions have contributed to a loss of income, leaving growing numbers of children as the victims. Precarious work and low paid jobs have also increased hardship.

The TUC reports that:

  • Families where both parents work in the public sector have seen their average household income plummet by £83 (€95) a week in real terms.
    •    Households where one parent works in the public sector and another in the private sector have lost £53 (€60) a week on average.
    •    Households where both parents work in the private sector have lost £32 (€36) a week on average.

The East Midlands will have the biggest increase in child poverty among working families, followed by the West Midlands and Northern Ireland, the research finds.

“Years of falling incomes and benefit cuts have had a terrible human cost,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady. “Millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. The government is in denial about how many working families just can’t make ends meet.” Trade unionists are marching in London on Saturday 12 May to demand “a new deal for working people”.

To ensure working families earn enough to support their children, the minimum wage should be raised to £10 (€11.4) as soon as possible and the social security system adapted to prevent families from falling into poverty in the first place.