Child income poverty
There is always a lag in the data on child poverty. Until the next Households Below Average Income Statistics for 2012/13 are published in May/June 2014 we only have data for the first two years of the Coalition Government, a period of many announcements but only the beginnings of implementation. Figure 1 shows what has been happening to the Child Poverty Act target measures up to the latest data available. Because median incomes have been falling (by 6% in real terms between 2007/8-2013/14) the relative child poverty rate has been falling and some of the reduction in the low income and material derivation measure can also be attributed to this. The “absolute” child poverty rate has been rising since 2009/10. The dotted lines on the chart indicate what would need to happen to reach the Child Poverty Act targets in 2020.
For child income poverty projections we rely on the Institute for Fiscal Studies modelling, which at the time of writing the latest is dated January 2014, and does not yet take account of the announcements made in the Autumn Statement in 2013. The IFS estimate that relative child poverty will increase from 17.4% in 2011/12 to 22.5% in 2020/21 and “absolute” child poverty will increase form 19.5% in 2011/12 to 27.9% in 2020/21.
Figure 1. Trends in child poverty in the UK
Source: HBAI (2014)
The HBAI series only publishes material deprivation rates with low income. In order to trace trends in material deprivation alone we undertook two analyses. The HBAI data sets contain a flag for those households with children meeting the >25% deprivation threshold.
Table 2 shows that there is little evidence as yet of a trend for increasing deprivation.
Table 2. Prevalence weighted deprivation
By 2011/12 there is no clear evidence that child deprivation had increased as a result of the recession and the Coalition’s austerity policies. However it has to be remembered that although unemployment had increased by 2011/12 and incomes had already fallen in real terms, many of the cuts in benefits and services only began to be implemented after April 2011. We need to watch this space.