Benefits ‘essential to cut child poverty’

Social security benefits are an essential tool for reducing child poverty, according to international evidence highlighted in a paper published by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The paper, prepared by researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, illustrates the effect of taxes and benefits on child poverty rates across the European Union in 2012.

Key points

  • The UK’s child poverty starting point is very high – the second highest before taxes and benefits in the EU27. UK child poverty in 2012 measured in this way was around 40 per cent, compared with the EU27 average of under 30 per cent. Only Ireland had a higher rate.
  • As a result, the UK benefits system has to do much more 'heavy lifting' than it does in many other countries. The redistributive effect of the UK benefits system is the highest of any country in the EU27.
  • After taxes and benefits are taken into account, the UK's child poverty rate was below the EU average in 2012.

CPAG expressed concern that if the coalition government's cuts to UK social security spending are not accompanied by effective action to bring down the pre-tax and transfer child poverty rate, they could leave millions more children exposed to poverty.

Source: H. Xavier Jara and Chrysa Leventi, Note on EU27 Child Poverty Rates, Child Poverty Action Group
LinksResearch note | Explanatory note | CPAG press release



Publication date: 
Mar 18 2014