A report on living standards has revealed that the proportion of poor children whose parents work has risen.

The latest report, entitled ‘Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2015’, was conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the research used data on household incomes from the government’s Households Below Average Income series.

It discovered that between 2009 and 2014, a rise in employment led to more children living with working parents. In contrast, the income of working families decreased during this period, meaning the number of children living in absolute poverty remained unchanged overall.

However, the report also found that between 2009 and 2014, the proportion of children in poverty living in a working family increased from 54 per cent to 63 per cent respectively.

Chris Belfield, a research economist at the IFS, said: “Since 2009–10, a fall in the number of workless families has acted to reduce poverty, but this has been offset by a substantial rise in in-work poverty. This largely reflects the wider nature of the labour market since the recession: robust employment and weak earnings.”

The research showed that the number of children living in workless families between 2009 and 2014 dropped from 18 per cent to 16 per cent, reducing absolute child poverty by more than one percentage point. However, the increased rates of poverty within working families during this period increased absolute child poverty by more than two percentage points.

It was highlighted that benefit cuts in the current parliament will place extra pressure on absolute poverty for working-age households.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, concluded: “A strong economy and rising employment have masked the growing problem of in-work poverty, as years of below-inflation wage rises have taken their toll on people’s incomes.

“The upcoming minimum wage rise will help, but many low-income working families will still find themselves worse off due to tax credit changes. Boosting productivity and creating more jobs which offer progression at work is vital to make work a reliable route out of poverty.”

Virtual College has created an online course which focusses on Child Poverty to help learners identify children and families living in poverty and how to support them. To find out more, click here.

Institute for Fiscal Studies – Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2015/7880

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