UK & World News
Child Poverty In UK: 'The Bigger Picture'
As many as 2.3 million children are not being included in official poverty statistics despite living "materially deprived" lives, according to a new report.
Households are currently deemed to be living below the poverty line if the money coming in is less than 60% of the average income.
But the think tank Policy Exchange says that definition is too narrow and that social deprivation should also be considered.
"It doesn't matter if you are just above the line or below the line," said the head of economics and social policy at the organisation, Matthew Oakley .
"If you have poor education, poor housing, you're struggling with family life, there's debt in the household, we should be trying to help these families... Just focusing on income clearly isn't enough."
Ruth Woodgate lives with her two daughters in the Nelson ward of Great Yarmouth, where nearly half of all children suffer poverty.
With £209 coming in each week, they are living way below the poverty line. All too often she relies on her bowl of coppers to find enough money for a loaf of bread.
"I find I'm constantly having to fight with myself not to feel bad about things because I know it isn't my fault, but the way I feel not having the money to do what I want to do for my children, to provide what I want for my children, makes me feel I'm a failure."
Policy Exchange accuses politicians of increasing handouts to those not in work simply to push them above the poverty line, rather than helping them find work.
Ms Woodgate agrees: "I think it's a silly, silly mistake to make really because it's not dealing with the issues. It's just throwing money at the situation and that's not always what is needed.
"I don't need handouts, I need a job. People with alcohol and drug dependency issues don't need money, they need help to get off it."
The Government is reviewing how child poverty is classified and a consultation launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith ends next week.
Responding to the report, Mr Duncan Smith said: "This is exactly why we are consulting on a wider measure to capture the root causes of poverty, which include worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown.
"It is not just about money. Despite billions of pounds being paid out in tax credits in the past decade, the focus on income alone has not transformed people's lives.
"To have any real impact on tackling child poverty, we have to have a better understanding of what it means to live in poverty in the first place."
But not everyone wants a new definition. There is concern from some charities that what is an internationally recognised understanding of poverty could soon be ditched.
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what do you think?
But we keep sending money to "poor" countries, yet we can look after our own, another disgrace. When will these reports tell us something we dont know.
It depends on what 'poverty' means. Not having designer trainers or an ipod is not it.
I would agree, material things should not come into it. Same as fags and drink.
Hold it folks poverty is dynamic - it is much deeper than 'designer goods' - not saying there are not elements but it is the broader picture where income does not cover things like gas, electricity etc. etc.
Stop giving money to other countries and start helping out with our own country...stop allowing the illegal immingrants to stay in our country until case is sorted at our expense.do wot australia etc do and send them back to their country on next plane and then there wouldnt be such a big problem with them.
Wot skool did u go too?
Australia is a country of immigrants, ask the Aboriginal people.
If they keep making cuts to the poor and increasing fuel etc etc etc to make vast profits what do they expect.
shaun fully agree most annoying is the definitions being used by government as this masks the true extent
This is no recession- its a robbery. Theft public money into private pockets. Make no mistake!
might differ jimmy its about bankers more interested in investing abroad and government concerned about foreign issues and US the people not having the feel good factor which brings about the incentives for growth we are all more interested in ourselves and those who make claim to represent the people are fine till they get their power - though much of this requires leadership something we have lacked for over 20 years regardless of party
How about what take our money from the royals, and convert the largest council house in the world (buckingham palace) and all other publicly paid for social housing they reside in and turn them all into flats for the poor. The queens crown alone could take a few thousand people out of poverty. And we could stop spending billions on oil hunting equipment like warships and fighter jets. Put all mps on the minimum wage until we're back in the black, no more foreign aid to countries like India, out of Europe too- that will save us 52million a day.
jimmy you are hitting at one of the best international symbols we have just look at the jubilee and Olympics foreign media was clamoring to cover the stories - replace them with jimmyjedi and I doubt if a kids comic would cover the story (sorry about that :-) )
Keep your symbols- heating, shelter and food for the needy are more important you royal wet dream.
It is rather sad that the ovine masses always punch down in a recession, they blame johnny foreigner for their problems as if it is the foreigners that make the laws. Politicians encourage mass immigration, it drives down wages, makes people fear for their jobs and less likely to rock the boat. Aim your bile at the real villains, the politicians and their fat friends who never lose out, quite the reverse, they are the only winners in recession.
do you think anything will change
More media BS.
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To have any real impact on tackling child poverty, we have to have a better understanding of what it means to live in poverty in the first place." Only the likes of IDS could come out with this clap trap,open your eyes mate go have a look at where some of these people live in damp mouldy housing,no decent food,no money to heat the place,charity shop clothes and no facilities to wash them often,believe it or not it takes money to have a washing machine or go laundry,and no job to go to to improve their lives. Hope you join them sometime soon.