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Children: Poverty

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were living in poverty in (a) the City of Southampton, (b) Test Valley borough, (c) the ceremonial county of Hampshire and (d) the UK in each of the last five years. (254016)

Child poverty statistics, published in the Households Below Average Income series, only allow a breakdown of the overall number of children in relative poverty at Government office region level or for inner or outer London. This means information for city of Southampton, the Test Valley borough and the ceremonial county of Hampshire is not available.

Available information is shown in the following table.

Number of children living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of median, 2002-03 to 2006-07, Before Housing Costs, United Kingdom

Number of children (million)

2002-03

2.9

2003-04

2.9

2004-05

2.7

2005-06

2.8

2006-07

2.9

Notes:

1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income, sourced from the Family Resources Survey.

2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures are single financial years.

4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication ‘Households Below Average Income’ series, which uses net disposable household income, adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

5. Incomes have been equivalised using OECD equivalisation factors.

6. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand children.

Source:

Households Below Average Income, 2006-07

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of his Department's effectiveness in contributing towards the achievement of the Government's target to abolish child poverty. (252693)

Parental employment is the single biggest determinant of family income and children in out-of-work families are at a high risk of poverty. Work, therefore, continues to be the most sustainable route out of poverty. Our reforms of the welfare system have focused on helping people move into work, and increased employment has played an important role in reducing the number of children in relative poverty by 600,000 since 1998-99.

In particular, we have reduced the number of children in workless households by around 445,000 since 1997. The proportion of children in workless households currently stands at 15.5 per cent., down by 3.3 percentage points since 1997. We have increased the Great Britain lone parent employment rate which now stands at 56.3 per cent. The lone parent employment rate has increased by 11.6 percentage points since 1997 and this translates into an extra 320,000 lone parents in employment.

In addition to these reforms of the welfare system, the reforms we have already made to the child maintenance system, along with our intention to introduce a full child maintenance disregard, will lift over around 100,000 children out of poverty.

However, we recognise that there is more that we need to do, particularly in these turbulent economic times. This is why we are continuing the process of welfare reform and introducing into legislation our commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency were considered to be living in severe poverty in each year since 1997. (254915)

There is no official or agreed definition of severe poverty. The Households Below Average Income series presents a range of low-income thresholds (based on 50, 60 and 70 per cent. of median income).

Child poverty statistics, published in the Households Below Average Income series, only allow a breakdown of the overall number of children in relative poverty at Government office region level or for inner or outer London. This means information for the Tees Valley, and the Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency is not available.

Data are available for England on a single-year basis. Regional data are presented as three-year averages, due to variability in single-year estimates. Figures for England and the North East region looking at the number of children in households below 60 per cent. of median are shown in the following tables. Statistics based on other thresholds are given in the Households Below Average Income publication, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Table 1: Number of children living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of median in 1997-98 to 2006-07, Before Housing Costs, England

Number of children (million)

1997-98

2.9

1998-99

2.8

1999-2000

2.8

2000-01

2.5

2001-02

2.5

2002-03

2.4

2003-04

2.4

2004-05

2.3

2005-06

2.4

2006-07

2.4

Source:

Households Below Average Income, 2006-07

Table 2: Number of children living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of median in 1997-98 to 2006-07, Before Housing Costs, North East England

Number of children (million)

1997-98 to 1999-2000

0.2

1998-99 to 2000-01

0.2

1999-2000 to 2001-02

0.2

2000-01 to 2002-03

0.2

2001-02 to 2003-04

0.2

2002-03 to 2004-05

0.2

2003-04 to 2005-06

0.2

2004-05 to 2006-07

0.2

Notes:

1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income, sourced from the Family Resources Survey.

2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures are single financial years.

4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication ‘Households Below Average Income’ series, which uses net disposable household income, adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

5. Incomes have been equivalised using OECD equivalisation factors.

6. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand children.

Source:

Households Below Average Income, 2006-07