The Government has launched a consultation in an attempt to overhaul the way child poverty is measured in the UK – a move the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has been urging politicians to make for years.
The current income-based method for measuring poverty is narrow and fails to take into account many of the root causes of low-income, like: family breakdown, economic dependency, educational failure and addiction.
A child is considered to be living in poverty if their household income is less than 60 per cent of the median income – which Christian Guy, Managing Director at the CSJ, said does not tell the whole story.
He took part in a number of broadcast interviews – including BBC News 24 and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Breakfast show – where he argued the current system that uses an arbitrary income figure has failed to change the lives of millions of families across the UK.
He said: “For too long politicians have tried to deal with child poverty by throwing a few extra pounds at families living below a ‘so-called’ poverty line. It is clear that we urgently need a new approach that acknowledges child poverty has social as well as economic roots.”
Since 2006, when it published Breakdown Britain, the CSJ has produced a number of studies that have called for a change in the definition of child poverty. The most recent paper, from earlier this year, was Rethinking Child Poverty.