Photo of Mr Chris Ruane

Mr Chris Ruane (PPS (Rt Hon Peter Hain, Lord Privy Seal), Leader of the House of Commons; Vale of Clwyd, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of children in (a) the UK and (b) Vale of Clwyd were living in poverty in each of the last 30 years; and what projections he has made of each figure in each of the next three years.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Wicks

Mr Malcolm Wicks (Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions; Croydon North, Labour)

Our first step towards eradicating child poverty as set out in our current Public Service Agreement target is to reduce the number of children in low-income households by a quarter by 2004–05. This is measured using the proportion of children in relative low income households. Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in 'Households Below Average Income 1994–95 to 2002–03'. Data is not available below the regional level and is only available as proportions at the regional level. It should be noted that the reporting of year on year changes in the regional low-income rates are not reliable.

The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting absolute and relative trends in low income.

The available information is in the table.

Percentage and number of children living in households with income less than 60 per cent. of median
Before housing costs After housing costs
Number (million) Percentage Number (million) Percentage
1979(32) 1.7 12 1.9 14
1981(32) 2.4 18 2.7 20
1987(32) 2.6 21 3.1 25
1988–89(32) 2.9 23 3.3 26
1990–91(32) 3.2 26 3.9 31
1991–92(32) 3.4 27 4.1 32
1992–93(32) 3.5 27 4.3 33
1993–94(32) 3.3 25 4.2 32
1994–95(32) 3.2 24 4.2 32
1995–96(32) 3.5 26 4.6 35
1994–95(33) 2.9 23 4.0 32
1995–96(33) 2.7 21 4.0 32
1996–97(33) 3.2 25 4.3 34
1997–98(33) 3.2 25 4.2 33
1998–99(33) 3.1 24 4.2 33
1999–2000(33) 3.0 23 4.1 32
2000–01(33) 2.7 21 3.9 31
2001–02(33) 2.7 21 3.8 30
2002–03(33) 2.6 21 3.6 28

Notes:

1.Family Expenditure Survey (FES) figures are for the United Kingdom, Family Resources Survey (FRS) figures are for Great Britain.

2.The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years.

3.FES figures are single calendar years from 1979–87, two combined calendar years from 1998–89 to 1992–93 and two financial years combined from 1993–94 to 1995–96.

Sources:

(32)Family Expenditure Survey (UK)

(33)Family Resources Survey (GB)

'Measuring child poverty', published in December 2003, outlines the Government's measure of UK child poverty for the long-term. The measure will consist of three tiers; absolute low income, relative low income and material deprivation and low income combined. The Government will set a target as part of the 2006 SR06 Spending Review to halve by 2010–11 the numbers of children suffering a combination of material deprivation and relative low income. This new measure will commence with estimates taken from the 2004–05 Family Resources Survey. Data will not be available below the regional level.

Future projections are unavailable.

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