The number of children growing up in poverty in working households has risen by 800,000 since 2010, according to new TUC analysis. The analysis reveals that child poverty in working families rose to 2.9 million in 2018 – an increase of 38% since the start of the decade.

In 2010, 1 in 5 (19%) children in working households were growing up in poverty. In 2018 this had increased to 1 in 4 (24%). The analysis shows that government policies account for the majority of the increase in-work poverty. More than 485,000 children (in working households) have been pushed below the breadline as a direct result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts.

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

  • Weak wage growth
  • The spread of insecure work
  • Population growth
  • The rise in the number of working households hasn’t been enough to lift families out of poverty

London has suffered the biggest increase in child poverty (+68%) among working families followed by the West Midlands (+56%) and East England (+56%). In 2016 the Conservatives abolished the Child Poverty Act and scrapped targets to reduce poverty.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said “No child in Britain should be growing up in poverty. But millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. That is not right. The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy. We need a government that puts working families first, not wealthy donors and hedge funds.”

Increase in number of children living in poverty in working households since 2010 (nation/region) 

Region Number of children in poverty in 2010 Number of children in poverty in 2018 Extra children in poverty (000s) Extra children in poverty (%)
North East 71,362 108,775 37,413 52
North West 241,300 335,190 93,890 39
Yorkshire and Humberside 206,827 217,571 10,744 5
East Midlands 124,690 184,085 59,395 48
West Midlands 191,504 299,510 108,006 56
Eastern England 171,637 268,516 96,879 56
London 362,448 609,002 246,554 68
South East 248,435 340,996 92,561 37
South West 179,550 215,403 35,853 20
Wales 124,102 119,693 -4,409 -4
Scotland 112,075 121,925 9,850 9
Northern Ireland 53,404 59,690 6,286 12
UK total 2,087,334 2,880,356 793,022 38

Source: Landman Economics Analysis and modelling for the TUC 

Proportion of children in poverty in working households 

Region 2010 (%) 2018 (%)
North East 17.3 25.5
North West 20.2 25.3
Yorkshire and Humberside 22.7 22.0
East Midlands 15.5 21.1
West Midlands 19.9 27.9
Eastern England 15.8 22.7
London 25.9 33.9
South East 15.5 20.0
South West 19.7 21.4
Wales 24.6 22.0
Scotland 13.3 15.1
Northern Ireland 15.2 15.7
UK total 19.0 23.8