Child poverty levels in the UK have been significantly lower than they are today. They are lower today in many other comparable countries. Making sure every child gets a good start in life is not only the right thing to do, it is one of the smartest investments any country can make.
The U.K.’s Child Poverty Action Group has 50 years of experience and expertise to devise and promote solutions they feel will lift children and families out of poverty. If politicians take the right action to address the causes of child poverty, no child need grow up experiencing financial hardship. This includes ensuring decently paid jobs; good, accessible childcare; and a strong social security system to keep people’s heads above water and provide support when it’s needed.
London Calling is a CPAG project to understand the challenges faced by Black and minority ethnic parents on low incomes bringing up children in the capital. They want to amplify these parents’ voices, and together develop local and national solutions to deliver meaningful change. This project draws on a London Calling family panel as well as evidence from practitioners working with families across London via CPAG’s Early Warning System.
A new report pulls together the views and experiences shared by parents and young people in the capital during the first year of the London Calling project. It looks at the key barriers to a good quality of life for children and families living on a low income in London in 2021 and examines the effect of the pandemic on these barriers, and sets out what our panel of low income parents in London want the future to look like for themselves and their families. The briefing also profiles the panel’s experience of participating in consultations with policy makers in London, and explores the extent to which these parents feel their identities are understood and represented by people in positions of power.
London is home to more than nine million people. It is the UK’s biggest and most diverse city, representing more than 13 percent of the total population. A huge proportion of the UK’s prosperity is concentrated in its capital, but many Londoners struggle to make ends meet and achieve an acceptable standard of living. London is home to some of the country’s poorest neighbourhoods, and it’s a city in which vast inequalities are increasingly stark.
For too many Londoners and their children, proximity to the city’s affluence does not mean sharing in this wealth and adequate employment, affordable housing and fit for purpose childcare are often out of reach. In fact, levels of after housing poverty and inequality are higher in some parts of London than anywhere else in the UK. As the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda begins regenerating parts of the UK that have been economically struggling, attention turns away from London. Yet London is the only region in the UK where the number of food bank parcels distributed during the pandemic more than doubled (a 106 percent increase). Among other things, CPAG is asking that the child benefit must rise by at least £5 per week for each child to make up for inflation since 2010, otherwise it will have lost 23 percent of its real value by 2020; The two-child limit on tax credits and universal credit will plunge a further 300,000 children into poverty, and push a million who are already in poverty further below the poverty line. The £20,000 a year benefit cap should be abolished as it denies the needs of large families or those in high-rent areas. Families earning £20,000 from work are already entitled to additional support through benefits and tax credits to maintain a decent standard of living. There is more. To reach the entire CPAG Report, go here: https://cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/policypost/London_Calling_Stretched_Too_Far.pdf
“More than anything, as a nation we need to recommit to ending poverty, as a national priority.”—CPAG