Child poverty to worsen

6 September 2010

Family in housing need

Almost 54,000 children already living below the poverty line will be pushed even further down by government cuts to housing benefit, Shelter reveals today.

Independent research commissioned by Shelter from the University of Cambridge shows the cuts will push an extra 27,000 families already below the poverty line to below the minimum income guarantee.

This means 54,000 children will be in households left with less than £100 a week after housing costs to cover all other expenses including utility bills, transport, food and clothing. Shockingly, a further 33,000 children will be in families forced to survive on less than £50 a week.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: ‘It’s hard to see how the Government plans to lift children out of poverty when one of its first big reforms threatens the futures of thousands of children who are already living on a knife edge.

‘As a result of these cuts, many families are going to face a stark choice between eviction and possible homelessness, or finding cheaper accommodation. Unfortunately, most will find the only housing they can afford will be either substandard or lead to overcrowded conditions.’

Shelter warns that where families are forced to move, this will mean children being uprooted from schools in the middle of term and torn away from their friends and communities, with irreversible impacts on their education and social development.

Mr Robb continued: ‘As more and more damning evidence emerges of the impact these cuts will have, the government must urgently re-think its proposals or thousands of children will suffer the consequences.’

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