The number of British children in poverty is set to hit a record high in the next five years, a think tank has warned.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) predicts that there could be as many as 5.2 million children living in poverty by 2021. This represents around 37 per cent of all children. If this happens, it will have effectively wiped out the last 20 years of the country’s progress on this issue. It will also represent the highest rate of child poverty since records began in 1961.
A combination of benefit freezes, less generous tax credits and the introduction of universal credit led the IFS to this prediction in a newly published report. They warn that although the poverty level is likely to rise throughout the country, the areas which see the largest increases will be the ones that are already the most deprived.
While the “smallest increases are in the south … even there relative child poverty is projected to rise by at least four percentage points” according to the think tank. The north is expected to be hit even harder, where the poverty rate could go up by eight per cent.
Report author and IFS research economist Tom Waters said the largest increases in child poverty would take place in “in the north-east, east Midlands, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and the smallest in London, the south-east, and south-west”.
Last year, the government abolished the Child Poverty Unit. This was a cross-departmental organisation designed to tackle social deprivation. The Unit’s work was then taken over by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Read the full IFS report here.