Ending child poverty: why and how

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By Lizzie Flew, Communications and Campaigns Manager at Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

Too many children are growing up in poverty in the UK. The average class of 30 pupils now has nine children living in poverty.

In a new guide from Child Poverty Action Group, Ending Child Poverty: Why and How, Kitty Stewart, Jane Millar, Alan Marsh and Jonathan Bradshaw set out the evidence on the extent of child poverty and its impact on children – their day-to-day lives and their future opportunities.

Poverty means a lack of healthy food and homes that stay cold in winter. If children arrive at school cold and hungry, they are less able to respond to even the best efforts to improve their education. Poverty means parents forgoing essentials while debts increase, creating anxiety and stress which profoundly affects family wellbeing. All these factors impede children’s progress at school and cause their physical and mental health to fall steadily below that of children in better-off families.

But child poverty is not inevitable. It is a political choice. We can stop it, and this guide sets out how. The authors outline how our social security system can help families on low incomes, and explore what we can learn from what other countries have done to tackle child poverty. They then detail the priorities for action: the steps the government must take to help reduce child poverty. The book finishes by imagining a society without child poverty, and the opportunities that would unleash for all our children.The guide sets out specific action. First, abolish policies that are increasing child poverty, such as the benefit cap and two-child limit. Second, expand measures that will prevent or reduce child poverty, including increasing child benefit and making it universal again, and expanding free school meals. And third, build support for a society with no child poverty, and bring in a comprehensive child poverty strategy to ensure action across all levels of government.

Read the essential guide for anyone concerned about ending child poverty: Ending Child Poverty: Why and How.

This article is featured in our 21 February newsletter. To get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox, sign up to our mailing list.

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