Experts are warning that child poverty will increase as a result of the Government spending cuts, as they start to hit families in the pocket.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conducted its first report into the well-being of Britain’s families and found that between 1995 and 2005 child poverty in this country fell more than any other OECD member country.
With that period also seeing the third highest average family income increase in the UK compared with all the other countries in the OECD, by 2007 Britain was also spending more on children than nearly all other countries.
The report warned however, “Progress in child poverty reduction in the UK has stalled, and is now predicted to increase, and so social protection on families – particularly via family service provisions, as a longer-term solution to poverty risks – needs to be protected.”
It also added that cutting childbirth and pregnancy benefits, as well as freezing child cash benefits would affect a lot of families. With child trust fund contributions also abolished, children’s savings would suffer.
“Providing services such as affordable and good quality local day-care centres, with flexible opening hours, is key to helping families with children on low incomes into work,” the report says.
Head of policy at campaign group the Child Poverty Action Group, Imran Hussain, said, “This report makes clear that increased investment in government support to families has led to real progress being made since 1999 to reduce child poverty, so it is incredibly short-sighted to cut this just when families need it the most to cope with falling incomes and rising living costs.
“The growth in child poverty this will cause will damage the childhoods and life chances of a generation of children, weaken our economy and will leave the UK taxpayer paying the bill for wider health and education inequalities.”