End Child Poverty statistics published today provide a bleak picture for hundreds of thousands of children in London and show what particular challenge it is to solve child poverty in the capital.

New figures  by the End Child Poverty coalition show that levels of child poverty are highest in the large cities, particularly in London, Birmingham and Manchester. London’s prevalence in the statistics continues, with four of the five UK local authorities with the worst rates of child poverty are in the capital. Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of child poverty of any council in the UK, at 43.5 per cent, while Poplar and Limehouse is the parliamentary constituency with London’s highest rate of child poverty at 43.7 per cent, and third highest in the country.

Challenges for families in the capital, and in Inner London in particular, include the higher cost of housing and childcare compared to elsewhere in the UK. Combined with benefit cuts and stagnating wages, the toxic result has been the entrenchment of poverty in one of the world’s wealthiest cities.   These latest figures show that of the ten London councils with the highest levels of child poverty, eight are in Inner London.

450,000 children in London are in poverty despite living in a household where someone is working. At 4in10, the child poverty network based at Children England, we are carrying out research with low income working families in Inner London, who find themselves struggling to make ends meet despite taking on as many working hours as they can manage. We’ve spoken to single mothers juggling work with childcare, parents with disabilities who have been forced to use foodbanks, and families housed for years in temporary accommodation after being made homeless by unaffordable private sector rents which their wages just couldn’t cover. The research will be published later this year.

As prices continue to rise, and with benefits frozen until 2020, it seems that more and more families are set to be pushed below the poverty line. Cuts to in-work support under Universal Credit penalise low income working families and stop work from paying. Helping these families and protecting children’s life chances requires action across local, regional and national levels.

In the Autumn Statement, we’ll have an opportunity to see if Theresa May’s Government is ready to put its money where its mouth is to support the ‘just about managing’ families which our Prime Minister has said her Government will focus on. Reversing the cuts to in-work support and increasing work allowances under Universal Credit would make a big difference to working families grappling with the soaring costs of living in our cities. In London, we’re continuing to raise the issue of high child poverty rates with local and regional policymakers, and we’re asking the new Mayor to ensure that these families are a key priority in his forthcoming strategies.


What you can do:

Please do use this opportunity to speak out about the increasingly difficult situation for many families in London, or your area.

  • Make your reaction to the above statistics public by responding to the news story in your local paper, or simply tweeting about it today. We’ve pulled out some key messages below.
  • Please use these figures in any meetings you have with local decision makers and elected representatives.

 If you want any further information or advice about how to raise this issue in your local area please contact us – we’re happy to help.

Key messages:

  • These figures highlight the shocking levels of child poverty across our capital and show there are specific challenges in London that we need to respond to.
  • Yes, the UK Government has a role to play in improving incomes, in particular for the large number of families who are in work – and still living in poverty. But so does the Mayor and we hope that his new strategy for London will demonstrate his desire to tackle this.
  • Growing up in poverty can have a profound impact on a child’s life and right now too many children’s lives are being blighted in this way.

Follow the discussion on Twitter @4in10