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Progress towards child poverty targets

Government targets:

In May 2019, the Government announced official targets to address child poverty. This followed the passing of the Child Poverty Reduction Act in 2018, which requires the government to set both long-term (10-year) and intermediate-term (3-year) targets on a defined set of child poverty measures. Below are the three-year intermediate-term targets, to be reached by 2020/21 (year ending June 2021) to be reported on in 2022.

The Government aims to reduce the proportion of children in:

  • low income households on the 50% before housing costs primary measure from 16.5 percent of children to 10.5 percent – a reduction of around 70,000 children.
  • low income households on the 50% after housing costs primary measure from 23 percent to 18.8 percent – a reduction of around 40,000 children.
  • material hardship from 13 percent of children to 10.3 percent – a reduction of around 30,000 children.

Findings for the 2018/19 financial year:

  • 14.9 percent of children lived in low-income households on the before housing costs primary measure. This corresponds to 168,500 children, a reduction of 14,900 from the 2017/18 baseline.
  • 20.8 percent of children lived in low-income households on the after housing costs primary measure. This corresponds to 235,400 children, a reduction of 18,400 from the 2017/18 baseline.
  • 13.4 percent of children lived in a household experiencing material hardship. This corresponds to 151,700 children, an increase of 4,100 from the 2017/18 financial year.

CPAG monitors closely the supplementary official measure of the children under the lowest poverty line reported – the 40% after housing costs line. These numbers show little change for 2018/19 and stand at 168,600 children.

Progress towards the three-year targets:

These findings for the 2018/19 financial year show possible improvements but fall within the sample error.  The 2019/20 figures will pick up the Full Families Package, but are not reported until 2021 and are unlikely to show dramatic improvements. The three-yearly outcome will not be known until early 2022. To reach the 3-year target, the proportion of children in:

  • low income households on the before housing costs primary measure must be reduced by a further 4.9 percentage points, equivalent to 55,100 children.
  • low income households on the after housing costs primary measure must be reduced by a further 1.8 percentage points, equivalent to 21,600 children.
  • material hardship must be reduced by 3.4 percentage points, equivalent to 34,100 children.

Further resources: