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Over 4 million children now live in poverty, finds Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Children’s Commissioner calls for halt to Universal Credit

The UK approaches Brexit with half a million more children suffering poverty, following 'a relentless rise in the number of working families struggling to make ends meet over the last five years'. This is the main finding of Joseph Rowntree Foundation's annual report examining the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and its effect on people gripped by it.

JRF found that child poverty has been rising since 2011/12. a rise of 500,000 in the last five years. According to the report, the vast majority of this rise has taken place in working families and now four million workers are in poverty – a rise of more than half a million over five years. Strikingly, say the research team, in-work poverty has been rising even faster than employment, driven almost entirely by increasing poverty among working parents.

The key points of the report are:

In a blog post originally published in Huffington Post, the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, called for a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit. She said:

"The number of children in poverty in our country should shock every politician into action. We need to halt UC until children's welfare can be guaranteed and to reverse the benefit changes that have had a negative impact on children. And we need to put in place programmes that offer early help and family support – Sure Start or family hubs that aim high and help those families to overcome the poverty that traps and limits so many aspects of their lives. If we don't, we are denying millions of children the support the need and denying them a fair chance in life."

For the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report and summary, click here. For the Children's Commissioner's full response, click here.