Child poverty in the Folkestone & Hythe district wards, has risen for the fifth year in a row. The number of children aged under 16 living in relative or absolute poverty is now well above 3,000 for both definitions, according to data released by the Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) and HMRC last week.
More than 3,000 children under sixteen are living in poverty in the Folkestone & Hythe District regardless if one looks at in relative or absolute terms.
Defining poverty in the UK, the headline measures are based on household income and so these are the terms used in this post.
An individual is in relative poverty if they are living in a household with income below 60% of median household income in that year. This measure essentially looks at inequality between low- and middle-income households.
Across all wards in our district a further 882 under sixteen have been dragged into relative poverty.
An individual is in absolute poverty if they are living in households with income below 60% of the 2010/11 median, uprated for inflation. By using an income threshold that is fixed in time, this measure looks at how living standards of low-income households are changing over time.
Across all wards in our district a further 353 under sixteen have been dragged into absolute poverty.
We suspect that with the advent of coronavirus, more children under sixteen will fall into poverty, be it absolute or relative, when the 2019/20 figures are published next year.
An increasing number of persons in the district have applied for the main unemployment benefit universal credit over the past two weeks after losing their jobs as a result of factories, shops and businesses closing. Claimants face a minimum five-week wait for the benefit to come through, although they can take out an immediate repayable advance loan deducted from future payments.
Although the government has acted swiftly, there are already reports that the lowest paid in the district are struggling to afford food and utilities such as gas and electricity, and some food banks across the district are reporting big increases in demand.
The figures show that poverty is not just rising but deepening in absolute terms with 353 more children pulled into severe poverty compared to 2014/15. The current coronavirus crisis is likely to see this number continue to rise as parents face job losses and falls in earnings.
In 2010, the Child Poverty Act enshrined a national child poverty target of fewer than 10% of children to be living in relative poverty before housing costs by 2020. There are currently 20% living in this level of poverty. What this has demonstrated is that work is not an automatic route out of poverty. The above is supported by the Social Mobility Commission report at page 21.
The Shepwayvox Team
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