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Poverty: Children

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the number of children who would be living in poverty (a) before and (b) after housing costs in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15 on the basis of (i) the policies in place prior to the Autumn Statement and (ii) implementation of those policies.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government have not forecast how many children they expect to be in poverty before and after the introduction of the policies announced in the autumn statement for each year to 2014-15. Child poverty is dependent on a number of factors which cannot be reliably predicted.

Analysis shows an estimated increase of around 100,000 in 2012-13; on the measure used previously (i.e. the impact of tax and benefit changes on the number of children living in households with an income less than 60% of the median).

But this does not represent a forecast of the actual change in child poverty year on year. When, as is currently and exceptionally the case, CPI is substantially higher than average earnings growth, uprating benefits by CPI will act to reduce child poverty, all other things being equal.

This measurement also does not take into account the value of public services which benefit children, such as education and health care. These are very important tools in improving life chances, particularly among poorer households.

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