The number of children growing up in poverty in working households is set to be 1 million (50%) higher this year than in 2010, according to new TUC research published. The analysis – carried out for the TUC by Landman Economics – estimates that 3.1 million children with working parents will be below the official breadline in 2018, compared to 2.1 million at the start of the decade.

Kids with at least one working parent will account for two-thirds of children living in poverty in 2018. The analysis shows that 600,000 children (with working parents) have been pushed into poverty as a result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts and public sector pay restrictions.

The TUC says that other key factors behind the 1 million rise in child poverty are:

  • Weak wage growth
  • The spread of insecure work
  • Population growth
  • The increase in working families

The research shows the impact of public sector pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts on household incomes.

The analysis reveals that:

  • Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes. Their average household income has fallen by £83 a week in real terms.
  • Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector have lost, on average, £53 a week.
  • Households with private sector workers only have seen their incomes fall by £32 a week on average.

The East Midlands is set to have the biggest increase in child poverty among working families (+76%), followed by the West Midlands (+66%) and Northern Ireland (+60%). The figures are published as tens of thousands of workers prepare to march in London this Saturday as part of the TUC’s ‘A New Deal for Working People’ demonstration.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Child poverty in working households has shot up since 2010. Years of falling incomes and benefit cuts have had a terrible human cost. Millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. The government is in denial about how many working families just can’t make ends meet. That’s why tens of thousands will be marching in London this Saturday to demand a new deal for working people.”

“We need ministers to boost the minimum wage now, and use the social security system to make sure no child grows up in a family struggling to get by.”


Estimated increase in number of children living in poverty with a working parent since 2010 (nation/region)

Region Number of children in poverty 2010 Number of children in poverty 2018 Extra children in poverty 2018 (000s) Extra children in poverty 2018 (%)
North East 70,500 112,000 41,000 58%
North West 240,000 341,000 102,000 42%
Yorkshire 209,000 272,000 63,000 30%
East Midlands 126,000 222,000 96,000 76%
West Midlands 189,000 312,000 124,000 66%
East of England 180,000 262,000 82,000 45%
London 353,000 538,500 185,000 52%
South East 252,000 372,000 120,000 48%
South West 166,00 246,000 80,000 48%
England 1,784,000 2,677,000 893,000 50%
Scotland 122,000 185,000 63,000 52%
Wales 112,000 152,000 39,000 35%
Northern Ireland 56,000 89,000 33,000 60%
UK 2,100,000 3,100,000 1,000,000 50%


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