Benefit changes ‘put more children into poverty’

    The number of children in absolute poverty will rise by 200,000 within three years because of the government’s tax and benefit reforms, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

    At the same time, some 100,000 working-age parents will also fall into absolute poverty, the IFS forecasts. This finding is at odds with the government’s claim in the

    comprehensive spending review that its reforms would have no measurable impact on child poverty in 2012-13.

    The following year is expected to worsen still, said the IFS, with absolute poverty affecting 300,000 more children than now and about 200,000 working-age parents.

    Absolute poverty is defined as living in households whose income is less than 60% of the 2010-11 median in real terms.

    “Meeting the legally-binding child poverty targets in 2020 would require the biggest fall in relative child poverty after 2013-14 since at least 1961,” said the report’s author, Robert Joyce.

    The Child Poverty Act, which passed into law this year with cross-party support, commits current and future governments to reducing absolute child poverty to 5% by 2020-21. This would require a reduction in absolute child poverty of 16 percentage points under current policies, the IFS said.

    Earlier this month, Frank Field recommended the government increase current poverty indicators with a set of Life Chances Indicators.

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