From the TUC

Child poverty is on the rise and concentrated in the places government policies will hurt most

08 Nov 2016, by in Society & Welfare

Today the End Child Poverty coalition published their annual Child Poverty Map of the UK which local authorities and parliamentary constituencies across the UK and shows the proportion of children living in poverty in each. (Full disclosure: the TUC is a proud member of End Child Poverty)

It always comes as something of a shock to see the differences between areas and these figures show how child poverty rates are much higher in large cities, especially London, Birmingham and Manchester. Manchester has a 40% rate of child poverty and Birmingham 37%.  Among the 20 constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are in London, three in Birmingham, and three in Manchester.

Following on from yesterday’s post, I couldn’t help wondering whether there’s a relationship between how many children in an area are going to be hurt by the Benefit Cap and the proportion of children in that area who are poor. This isn’t as simple a matter as you might imagine – the Cap mainly hits people getting above average amounts of Housing Benefit, so average rents in an area affect the number who are Capped, as well as the number of families relying on benefits.

Even so, there is a relationship. First let’s look at the 20 local authorities with the highest proportion of children in poverty and the number of children hit by the Benefit Cap in August 2016:

% of children in poverty 2015 (AHC)  Number of Benefit Capped children
1.      Tower Hamlets 43.5% 1,336
2.      Manchester 40.0% 1,091
3.      Westminster 37.7% 690
4.      Islington 37.7% 445
5.      Newham 37.5% 1,267
6.      Birmingham 37.4% 3,209
7.      Hackney 37.1% 931
8.      Middlesbrough 37.0% 337
9.      Nottingham 37.0% 619
10.   Southwark 36.7% 583
11.   Barking & Dagenham 36.6% 855
12.   Lambeth 36.1% 693
13.   Leicester 35.9% 574
14.   Blackpool 35.5% 269
15.   Hull 35.4% 386
16.   Camden 35.2% 478
17.   Sandwell 34.9% 720
18.   Lewisham 34.7% 851
19.   Waltham Forest 34.6% 911
20.   Wolverhampton 34.6% 609

And now let’s look at the 20 local authorities with the lowest child poverty rates:

  % of children in poverty 2015 (AHC) Number of Benefit Capped children
1.      Wokingham 10.4% 110
2.      Shetland Islands 10.6% 0
3.      Ribble Valley 11.3% 0
4.      Hart 11.9% 0
5.      South Northamptonshire 12.5% 0
6.      Harborough 12.7% 0
7.      Waverley 12.8% 21
8.      Aberdeenshire 13.1% 84
9.      South Oxfordshire 13.1% 75
10.   West Oxfordshire 13.1% 81
11.   Mid Sussex 13.3% 95
12.   Mole Valley 13.3% 25
13.   Rushcliffe 13.3% 0
14.   St Albans 13.7% 157
15.   South Cambridgeshire 13.8% 50
16.   Uttlesford 13.8%  24
17.   Chiltern 13.8% 98
18.   Rutland 13.9% 0
19.   Richmond upon Thames 13.9% 179
20.   Horsham 14.0% 58

When you look at these tables it becomes easier to understand why some people don’t think austerity has done much harm: there are plenty of places where a policy like the Benefit Cap hasn’t affected many people locally. But it also underlines the fact that government policies are set to make life tougher for poor children in deprived areas.

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