What is child poverty in the UK?

Former_MSE_Debs Former MSE Posts: 890 Forumite
Poll started 19 June 2012, click here to vote

The Child Poverty Act currently defines children as in poverty if they’re in a household which earns under 60% of the average income. The government is now talking about making it more reflective of a child’s life.

Please select ALL you think count as poverty

Family income below £13,000 a year (60% of median income)
A lack of food, shelter or clothing
A child sharing a room with someone of different gender
Family income below £5,000 a year
Parents who are drug addicts
Parents regularly behind with paying household bills
No annual holiday
No laptop or internet access
Kids that get free school meals
A home with no central heating
A home with no heating at all
Kids with fewer than two pairs of shoes
Parents can’t afford to save £10+ a month for rainy days/retirement
A child without their own bed
No access to school trips (though often schools will subsidise)


  • donny-gal
    donny-gal Forumite Posts: 4,652
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    This is a hard one, and in the main depends on the behaviour of the parents, a child can go without things in one home where parents spend on themselves, smoking, drinking, drugs, and their childen do not have things like a bed, food, clothing shelter, etc., but in a lower income home where the parents put children first, they will get these things and do without themselves.
    Member #8 of the SKI-ers Club
    Why is it I have less time now I am retired then when I worked?
  • TheSandman
    TheSandman Forumite Posts: 71 Forumite
    I would reset it as any family that earns under a set amount of something like £12,000.

    The idea that a child can be in poverty but one year later, with static income and rising bills suddenly find themselves out of poverty due to a fall in median income, find themselves out of poverty. Crazy.

    A lifestyle test would be better but impossible to judge.
    How do you define lack of food, clothing or shelter?
    Sharing with your sister/brother is not ideal but is probably quite common in London.
    You can be rich yet still not have a holiday, tv, savings and arrears.

    As I say, anyone earning below a set amount that doesn't allow any form of lifestyle whatsoever, between 11 and 12k probably. Possibly put in alowances depending on number in family, location and whether there are housing costs.
  • pink_phantom
    pink_phantom Forumite Posts: 733 Forumite
    Lol I cant afford a holiday every year for my family but I wouldn't class us as being in poverty
    Wildly my mind beats against you, yet the soul obeys. :heartpuls

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  • Dunroamin
    Dunroamin Posts: 16,908 Forumite
    I would say that only "A lack of food, shelter or clothing" , "A home with no heating at all" and "A child without their own bed" count as poverty. Income is no indicator without knowing about housing costs.
  • tescobabe69
    tescobabe69 Posts: 7,504 Forumite
    Dunroamin wrote: »
    I would say that only "A lack of food, shelter or clothing" , "A home with no heating at all" and "A child without their own bed" count as poverty. Income is no indicator without knowing about housing costs.
    Thats what I voted too.
  • bill_the_bus
    bill_the_bus Forumite Posts: 495
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    That list pretty much describes my childhood, not the drugs bit lol and we were never looked on as in poverty. I understand for many families times are hard but for how many is it down to over indulgence. I can make a substantial and healthy meal for a family for well under a fiver, dont buy takeaway. If i fancy a couple of beers i buy cans when on offer and enjoy on a walk if weather fare and not pay £3+ for a pint in a pub. Smoking, drugs, fashion,electronic must haves well they answers themselves. A lot of people are to lazy to search out a deal, have to drive everywhere, cannot be bothered cooking and have to have everything now. I understand there are many out there that are in poverty and struggle to get out of it but they are in the minority in the people i know that are pleading child poverty.

    I voted by the way.........Lack of food, shelter, clothing. Below £5k. Drug addicts. No heating at all. No bed of their own.
  • WelshGandalf
    WelshGandalf Forumite Posts: 76 Forumite
    I had free school meals whilst I was a kid for a bit, never thought of myself as in poverty though.

    Income is such a crude method of measurement, though it is hard to find a concrete, measureable thing to classify poverty. Housing costs, number of kids and do you include benefits/how much benefits do you include all come into the equation.

    I also ticked "no internet/laptop access" on the assumption that meant "for the whole houshold" - so much of what happens in our world is online nowerdays that I think you really do miss out if you don't have any access at home at all.
  • danthemoneysavingman
    danthemoneysavingman Forumite Posts: 1,387
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Car Insurance Carver!
    60% of median income is a better juge point than average income - these are definitely NOT the same thing! the value for average would no doubt be much higher, i think median is a good starting point.
    given the parents can choose what to spend the money on, i don't see how measuring against material things can be a reasonable yardstcik
    my two penn'orth anyway
    Let me Google that for you...
  • squibbitus
    squibbitus Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    Hi there

    This is my first post on this forum :-)

    There are some very valid points being made. A lot of the items on the list are mis-management rather than poverty - and if your income is very low - would I be right in thinking the family can get benefits to help them out? I only ticked 3 items on that list - bed / heating / lack of food etc.. The others are all different issues really.
  • RabbitMad
    RabbitMad Forumite Posts: 2,069 Forumite
    Dunroamin wrote: »
    I would say that only "A lack of food, shelter or clothing" , "A home with no heating at all" and "A child without their own bed" count as poverty. Income is no indicator without knowing about housing costs.

    I'd disagree on the basis that no heating is not being in poverty - otherwise I'd have grown up in poverty; whats wrong with extra layers of clothing?

    Only "A lack of food, shelter or clothing" and "A child without their own bed" would really count as poverty in my opinion and I'm debating the bed one as I had to share at some points with a sibling of a different gender and wouldn't have felt we were in poverty (poor perhaps).
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