Alison Garnham - London Child Poverty Conference


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  • Mountains of evidence about this Children die on roads and die younger Source: HBAI 2009/10 BHC AHC (%) Workless households 53 77 In receipt of Income Support 39 70 Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnicity 54 63 Social rented tenants 39 57 Black or Black British ethnicity 32 48 Lone parent 28 46 Three or more children in fam 26 36 One or more disabled adults 25 35
  • Since baseline year, child poverty fallen by 1.1 million Progress made 1999 – 2005, then stalled Due to reforms pre-2004/05 and after 2007/08 Has halved if you look at absolute measure – fixed baseline Would have been 2 million more poor children without these measures
  • Attempt to dismiss the headline poverty measure as ‘ Poverty Plus a Pound ’ – (Clegg, IDS, Osborne) Significant child poverty reductions if line drawn anywhere from 43% to 100% of median income (IFS, 2010) ‘ Thus, there is not striking evidence that policy-makers have been focusing efforts on a narrow set of children just below their chosen poverty line. ’ (Brewer et al, IFS, 2010) Ignores other measures in the Child Poverty Act International use –eg, OECD & EU In use since 1960s
  • Could talk at length about the potential for disaster of such a huge scheme – including IT meltdown – not DWP strength! Enormous risks for claimants All at a time when advice services under threat and closing down – LA cuts Legal aid to be abolished for social security cases Gainers and losers from UC No losers at point of introduction? Yet, cuts imposed before 2013 – latest cuts announced in Autumn statement Gainers – those working under16 hours a week Losers – those working longer hours where poorer incentives to work – doesn ’t encourage progression – unless you think the taper is sufficient encouragement – don’t think many people think like this!
  • Troubled by this rhetoric – conflates multiple disadvantage with poverty This is the opposite of evidence-based policy – it is policy-based evidence Poverty is based on political decision-making – not parental behaviour Confuses poverty with a few families facing multiple disadvantage
  • 9 per cent employment gap between lone parents in London and UK 14 per cent for mothers in couples 3 per cent for fathers in couples
  • If de-prioritisation of income poverty is to save money – what about investment needed in services? Early years investment – serious money needed here - not a cheap option Childcare quality is worst in disadvantaged areas
  • Alison Garnham - London Child Poverty Conference

    1. 1. Tackling child povertyAlison GarnhamCEO, Child Poverty Action Group
    2. 2. Peabody Conference:Child poverty – challenges and policy responses 10 December 2012
    3. 3. Stealing away children’s life chances• Education divide – poorer children 9 months behind (Hirsch D, 2007)• Health divide – socio-economic conditions mean greater risk heart disease, death by stroke, disability, poor mental health (Spencer N, 2008)• Wellbeing divide – negative impact on relationship with parents, educational orientation, low self-worth and risky behaviour (Tomlinson and Walker, 2009)• Costs £25 billion a year in public spending (JRF, 2008)
    4. 4. 2012/13
    5. 5. The uprating game
    6. 6. Progress to dateActual figures and projections: BHC AHCBaseline year 98/99: 3.4 million 4.4 millionLatest official figures 10/11: 2.3 million 3.6 millionIFS estimate for 20/21: 3.3 million 4.3 millionGov’t target for 20/21: 1.3 million* N/A(* 10% of children based on 2010/11 population count)Sources: HBAI 1998/99-2010/11; Children and Working-Age poverty from 2010to 2020, IFS 2010.
    7. 7. Historical Trend – since 1970
    8. 8. Progress made and lessons learned• Largest reductions in child poverty in OECD between mid-1990s and 2008 (Bradshaw 2012)• Child wellbeing improved on 36 out of 48 indicators between 1997 – 2010 (Bradshaw, 2012)• Deprivation levels fell as did money worries• extra money led to increased spending on fruit and vegetables, children’s clothes and books – spending on alcohol and cigarettes fell (Stewart, 2012)
    9. 9. Not just due to income transfers• Parents helped into work, childcare strategy and active labour market policies – worklessness fell until 2008• Lone parent employment rate 45 – 57% (1997-2010) accounts for ¼ of falls in child poverty (Brewer, 2012)• between 1997 and 2010, mothers in couples - 68 – 71%, and fathers in couples - 88.7 - 89.4%• In 2008, before the recession, the employment rate for fathers had been 91%• No. of children failing to get any qualification declined from 35,000 in 1999 to 6,000 in 2010• No. children on FSM getting at least 5 GCSEs rose from 36% to 65% closing attainment gap by one third between 2007 and 2011
    10. 10. Child poverty set to rise• Latest IFS projections show child poverty will rise by 800,000 between 2010 and 2020• Rise of 900,000 children on ‘absolute’ measure• Also likely rises in persistent poverty and deprivation levels• After Autumn statement – will now be more
    11. 11. Universal Credit – poverty reducing• Will reduce child poverty by 350,000 compared to current tax and benefit regime• But overwhelmed by other tax and benefit changes, inflation and stagnating wages – child poverty still to rise• No losers at point of introduction? Simple? Makes work pay? Protects vulnerable?• Improves ‘unemployment trap’ – transition to work• Still embodies the ‘poverty trap’ – high marginal tax rates, capital rules, caps on housing costs• 65% taper - not much improvement to work incentives. Influence behavior? (original plan was 55%)• IFS preliminary analysis - worse incentives to work and progress in work for single parents and partners in couples• Childcare costs reduced from 80% to 70%• Can be fixed – but bad news in the Autumn statement
    12. 12. Policy responses• Early years – 15 hours disadvantaged 2 year olds, and 3-4s• Pupil Premium• Child poverty strategy – ‘causes’• Social justice strategy – ‘troubled families’
    13. 13. Pupil premium• Ofsted report (Sept 2012) - real concern funds being used to "plug the gap" in school budgets• Survey of 262 schools - more than half said premium making "little or no difference" to the way they were being managed and operated• Sutton Trust survey (Aug 2012) showed 2-3% of schools using PP for interventions that had a track record of reducing the education gap• 28% teachers didn’t know what PP spent on
    14. 14. Social justice strategy – ‘troubledfamilies’?• Disruption? Irresponsibility? Crime? Drug and alcohol abuse? Neighbours from hell?• Evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence?• 120,000 families – FACS survey data• Criteria: no parent in work, poor quality housing, no qualifications, low income, cannot afford some food/clothing items, mother mental ill-health, parent longstanding disability or illness• Social justice strategy: ‘These families…can cause serious problems for their local communities through crime and anti-social behaviour’• Workless families where generations have never worked? Can find 15,000 in data (Gregg et al, also Shildrick et al)
    15. 15. Why are children in London poor?• London has the highest rate of child poverty of any English region, with as many poor children as in Scotland and Wales put together.• Thirty-seven per cent (592,000) of all children in London live below the poverty line.• London Child Poverty Commission (2008):• The underlying causes of this entrenched child poverty are surprisingly simple – the employment rate among parents, in particular mothers, is much lower than elsewhere in the country, driven in part by a lack of part- time jobs and flexible childcare, as well as higher housing, childcare and living costs.
    16. 16. What has been happening to child povertyrates in London?
    17. 17. What’s been happening to parentalemployment rates? Worklessness among couple households with children 1986-2012302520 Inner Lon15 Outer Lon10 S East 5 0
    18. 18. What’s been happening to parentalemployment rates? Worklessness among couple households with children 1986-2012302520 Inner Lon15 Outer Lon10 S East 5 0
    19. 19. What’s the size of the parental employmentgap in London?Employment rates in London (%) 2011
    20. 20. Why are parental employment rates still low?• Cost of childcare 24 per cent higher in London.• Low levels of part time jobs – key lacks are in administrative and secretarial occupations.• No London premium at lower end of Labour market – makes part time work difficult.• No dedicated cross London parental employment scheme.
    21. 21. What can Local Authorities do onemployment?• Lead by example: advertise all vacancies as available for part time and flexible working.• Use community benefit clauses within procurement arrangements to ensure that companies offer (flexible) jobs to local residents.• Consider developing targeted employment programmes for parents (cf Islington)• Introduce specific targets on parental employment in child poverty strategies.• Prioritise childcare – extended schools.
    22. 22. What else can local authorities dowithin child poverty strategies?• Invest in Free School Meals.• Target educational attainment gaps.• Benefit take up and advice + support with wide ranging reforms coming in in April. Prioritise families for discretionary support?• Ensure child poverty prioritised across other areas of council – e.g. Health and Wellbeing Boards.• Work with parents, children, voluntary sector to understand local family needs.• Invest in housing stock and tackle poor quality in private rented sector.
    23. 23. Policy responses needed• Investment in the early years (ECEC) – yes• Early intervention – yes• Pupil Premium – yes, if properly monitored• Don’t neglect income – child poverty scandal worsening• Last time child poverty rose on this scale – so did indicators of multiple deprivation• Improve UC – a mixed bag – even in own terms• Improve incentives to work and progress in work – lower taper, improve disregards• Local action needed too
    24. 24. What works?• Worth reminding ourselves - what benefits all families, including the ‘squeezed middle’ also benefits poor families – good quality jobs, decent pay levels (living wage), decent Child Benefit, universal childcare, family-friendly jobs, decent insurance benefits, high quality services, affordable housing, affordable transport - poverty prevention• Crisis - not inevitable – it’s what will happen if no action taken to stop it