Child poverty campaigns
Barnardo's aims to reduce the impact of poverty on children, young people, families and communities through social, economic and community action.
Poverty is an issue that we see affecting families in most of the projects we run.
We believe it is outrageous that children in the fifth richest country in the world still have to suffer the consequences of poverty.
What does Barnardo’s want to happen?
The Government is in the process of introducing a new Universal Credit in 2013 which it believes will reduce the number of children living in poverty by 450,000 by 2020-21. There are a number of issues with the reform which Barnardo’s believes could limit the impact on poverty reduction. We have been lobbying on reforms to:
- benefit payments to young people
- free school meals
- child maintenance
- the social fund
- housing under-occupancy criteria.
Debt and Credit
Spiraling debt is one of the main causes of poverty and is exacerbated by the problem of high cost credit and high interest rates charged to poorer families. In December 2010 Barnardo’s published a report; A Vicious Cycle: the impact of high cost credit on low income families. This highlighted the practice of rent-to-own providers who charge families up to two and half times more for rent-to-own basic household items such as cookers or fridges than it would cost to buy them from a high street provider.
Barnardo’s is calling on the Coalition Government and the Devolved Governments to put in place a strategy which includes ensuring that all families have fair access to a mainstream financial services through bank or post office accounts.
The most recent statistics reveal that 3.5 million households in England and 4.75 million in the whole of the UK in 2010 live in fuel poverty. One in five lone parent families live in fuel poverty in the UK.
See our report on the plight of low income families and young people living in fuel poverty, Priced Out (PDF).
Social Mobility and Youth Unemployment
Almost a million 16 to 24 year olds were not in education, training or employment inthe first quarter of 2012 with 300,000 18 year olds begin adult life without basic numeracy and literacy skills. Barnardo’s report; Levelling the playing field (October 2011) highlights Barnardo’s work to support vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds into education, employment and training.
In this report Barnardo's highlights the barriers faced by some 16 and 17-year olds to progressing through post-16 education, training and employment. It outlines the cost-effective solutions that can break intergenerational cycles of worklessness and help young people build their own futures. In this report Barnardo's recommends that:
- the UK Government makes rhetoric a reality by prioritizing the social mobility of the most disadvantaged 16 and 17-year-olds
- the UK Government introduces a range of flexible pathways through post-16 education, employment and training
- the private sector supports cost-effective partnerships between employers and the voluntary sector, to engage those young people who are furthest from the labour market
- local authorities in England use the Early Intervention Grant to support disengaged 16 and 17-year-olds into employment and training.
Ending Child Poverty
The Government has a statutory duty to end child poverty by 2020 which is enshrined in the Child Poverty Act 2020.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has projected that child poverty will increase by 700,000 children by 2020/2021.
Barnardo’s is calling on the Government demonstrates how it plans to break the cycle of poverty with appropriate monitoring on an ongoing basis via interim targets to tackle child poverty.