Government figures showed over four million children in the UK were living in relative poverty in 2018. That’s one in three. Now The Big Issue has learned that this number will rise over the next five years as Universal Credit takes hold, increasingly pushing more and more families into poverty.
New figures from the Resolution Foundation this week indicate that the number of children living in relative poverty is on course to hit 37 per cent, topping the previous record high of 34 per cent recorded in the ‘90s. By the end of 2019, it could be the majority of children in single parent families or in larger families – with two or more children – living in relative poverty.
The figures are published in the think tank’s Living Standards Outlook 2019 report – which also revealed that UK families can expect “stagnating” living standards.
The bleak forecast is driven by welfare cuts, benefit freezes and a lack of pay growth – only the latter of which is not directly down to the government, the think tank said. The UK economy’s pay performance is “struggling to get out of first gear,” said Resolution Foundation economic analyst Adam Corlett, with some households having already taken a £1,500 hit to their annual incomes.
He added that ongoing benefit cuts will continue to drive child poverty, which has already been on an upward trajectory since 2011.
“The UK’s current economic outlook is highly uncertain,” he said, “and will hopefully surprise on the upside. But whatever direction the economy takes, the government must reassess the continuation of working-age welfare cuts.”