A new report from baby bank charity Little Village shows that 47% of children from families with a youngest child under five in the North East are living in poverty, This compares with 46% in 2016-19 and 42% in 2015-18.
It Takes A Village: The Little Village family poverty report 2022 was published today (26 April 2022) by Little Village and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report shows that around half of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK live in a family with a child under the age of five. The report’s authors said today that this demonstrates how the presence of younger children in the household exacerbates the prevalence of poverty due to the increased financial pressures families with young children face.
The research forms part of a new report, It Takes a Village, which explores the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with babies and pre-school children in the UK. Analysis of the report was conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
It follows a similar report, produced a year ago by the two charities. This year’s report also features the results of a national survey of 1400 families with children under five facing financial hardship.
Key findings of the report
The key findings are that:
- Half of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK live in a family with a child under the age of five.
- 3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of five.
- 47% of racial minority families with a child under 5 are in poverty.
- 55% of children in single parent families with a child under 5 are in poverty.
- 40% of children in families with a child under 5 and a disabled parent are in poverty.
|Region||Child poverty rate||Number of children|
|Yorkshire & Humber||38%||200,000|
National survey results
The results of the national survey of 1400 parents show that:
- 52% of parents said that housing conditions had a negative impact on their health.
- 67% said that the cost of childcare stops them from being able to work or doing the job that they want to do.
- 42% said that the lack of available free, local activities and support for children has had a negative impact on their child’s development or health
Eleanor, a 24 year old single mother with a 17-month-old, said:
“I had to move across the country and sleep on a sofa at my friend’s mum’s house when I was pregnant because I was fleeing domestic violence. I’m now on Universal Credit. Because I’m 24, I’m paid a lower rate of Universal Credit than I would have been if I was 25. Making difficult choices on a typical day is normal to me now, I’m constantly juggling costs in my head.”
Sophie Livingstone, CEO of Little Village, said:
“This new report highlights the appalling scale and depth of poverty faced by over a million babies and young children across the country. The figures are shocking but behind the numbers there are young children with no space to crawl and play; families unable to feed their children three regular meals each day; babies sleeping on the floor because their families are unable to afford a cot.
“Little Village, and baby banks like ours across the country, will continue to support families when they need it most. But fundamental political and societal changes are needed if we are to see this situation improving. Top of our list is affordable childcare for all, the crippling cost of early years childcare continues to trap parents in poverty right at the time when they most need support.”
A response from the North East Child Poverty Commission
Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Amanda Bailey, said:
“It is simply intolerable that almost half of the youngest children across the North East are now growing up in poverty – and that this figure continues to rise year on year.
“All the evidence tells us that experiencing poverty in the first years of childhood can have hugely damaging and long-term effects on children’s life chances – impacting brain development, physical health and mental wellbeing, educational outcomes, future employment opportunities and even life expectancy.
“There is therefore little prospect of communities and families across our region being ‘levelled up’ unless meaningful, joined-up action is taken across all levels of government to tackle poverty levels for children, and particularly the youngest children, in the North East.”
“This deeply concerning picture is going to rapidly get even worse, unless we have urgent and targeted measures to support the lowest income families – both in and out of work – with the soaring cost of living. The government must invest immediately in our social security system, starting by raising support like Universal Credit in line with inflation, to protect children from even greater hardship – and lifting the two-child limit policy which has only served to increase poverty rates for young families.’
According to the Resolution Foundation, the total number of children in poverty is predicted to rise by 2024/25, with over one in three (33.7 per cent) of children expected to be living in poverty by that time.
What needs to change?
Recommendations from the report include:
- Investments are made to ensure affordable, quality childcare for all children, particularly children from low-income households
- Re-investment is made in local authority early years support services
- Universal Credit is made to work for families and the two-child benefits limit to be removed to lift more young children out of poverty