Written answers: Child Poverty (30 Oct 2013)

Posted on 01 Nov 2013 under Latest in Parliament

Ian Lucas (Wrexham, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were classed as living in poverty in each parliamentary constituency in the UK in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the number of such children in each of the next three years.

Esther McVey (Wirral West, Conservative)

The information requested is not available.

The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets four income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty (all before housing costs have been taken into account).

Estimates of these are published in the National Statistics Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living. This information is captured using the Family Resources Survey.

Information at constituency level is not available as the sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide robust estimates. The lowest geography at which poverty estimates are reported is regional level.

Three-year averages are used to report statistics by region, as single-year estimates are subject to volatility. The latest figures for relative and absolute low income at regional level covering the last five years (up until 2009-10 to 2011-12) can be found in the latest HBAI publication, available at the following link:


(ISBN 978-1-78153-531-8).

Relevant figures can be found in Table 4.6db (on page 115) for the latest relative low income proportions, Table 4.17ts (on page 136) for relative low income for the last five years and Table 4.23ts (on page 142) for absolute low income for the last five years.

The Government has not produced forecasts of the number of children living in income poverty for the next three years. The number of children in poverty is dependent on a number of factors which cannot be reliably predicted, including the median income.

Income matters but considering this in isolation fails to properly reflect the reality of child poverty in the UK today. We want to develop better measures of child poverty which include income but provide a more accurate picture of the reality of child poverty. Our consultation on how best to measure child poverty closed on 15 February. A large volume of responses was received and all of these are being read and analysed to ensure that all important points are captured and used to help Ministers decide on the next steps.