Does the UK’s alarming child poverty ranking raise concern?

UNICEF’s latest report shows that the UK has the worst child income poverty across the world’s richest countries.

2023 12 07T084120Z 1 LYNXMPEJB6095 RTROPTP 3 BRITAIN ELECTION POVERTY
A child plays behind railings on the Robin Hood Gardens estate in Poplar, in East London, March 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jas Lehal/files

The study conducted among affluent countries assessed both children’s income poverty in developed countries and the reduction in this poverty during the past decade. The difficult position of the UK is implied by the fact that it ranks 37 out of 39 countries within the group of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development.

The Arguments

The report combined child poverty rate statistics with the reduction in child income poverty incidence during a growth phase.

The UK had a low score in the dual evaluation being placed third to last after Turkey and Colombia based on a statistical average of the two indicators. For instance, the UK registered a rise in child poverty figures by 20% from 2012-2014 to 2019-2021 causing it to be placed last among the 39 surveyed high- or upper-middle-income countries.

However, Poland, Slovenia and Latvia made significant reductions, as high as 30%, in that period.

The Facts

Another finding is that, during the years 2019-2021, the UK emerged at the 28th position among 39 countries that had lower relative child income poverty rates.

According to UK’s UNICEF, UK Chief executive Jon Sparkes, there is a reduced rate of spending on child & family benefits in the UK. Thus, more children are growing up in poverty instead.

The Department for Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom responded to the report by noting plans to combat inflation and assist households with living costs. He emphasized that a more notable increase of over 10 percent on basic state pension would be implemented in the coming year.

However, they recognized that while the level of poverty has reduced significantly over the period of 2010s, challenges are still being experienced and continue.

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