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Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5797, tabled on 31 January 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address child poverty in the UK.

Answered on

14 February 2022

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children. In 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work, were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works. Compared with 2010, there were almost 1 million fewer workless households and almost 580,000 fewer children living in workless households in the UK in September 2021.

We are giving the lowest earners a pay rise by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022, and making permanent changes to Universal Credit, worth £1000 a year on average, to two million in-work claimants.

With our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has been expanded by £500 million and the new 'Way to Work’ campaign there is a national drive to get half a million people who are out of work into jobs in the next five months.

We recognise that some people require extra support over the winter, which is why vulnerable households across the country are now able to access a £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula applies in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million.

To support low income families further, we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers to £4.25, helping eligible low-income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are also investing over £200m a year from 2022, to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English Local Authorities.