5 million children in UK to be trapped in poverty by 2020


A record five million children in the UK could be trapped in poverty by 2020, according to new research by Save the Children.


The new report, A Fair Start for Every Child, reveals that children have paid the highest price in the recession, with families having been hit by a triple whammy of years of flat wages, cuts to benefits and the rising cost of living. They have been squeezed by food prices rising by 19% more than the general price level of other goods between 2007 and 2011. Childcare costs have also soared with a nursery place for a child under two rising by 77% between 2003 and 2013.


Despite a cross party commitment to end child poverty by 2020, new projections show that the numbers living in poverty could increase by 1.4 million in the same period, a rise of 41% on the 3.5 million children currently living in poverty.


Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s CEO said: “We’re increasingly worried that unless there is a dramatic change of course we’re at risk of writing off the future of millions of British children, giving them an unfair start in life.


This isn’t just a question of statistics; we see families through our programmes around the UK who are really struggling . Millions of children in the UK are being left behind – sentenced to a lifetime of poverty. Far too many of our children are living in cold and damp homes, without healthy food, with parents who can see no end to their situation. If we ignore the rising toll of poverty we are blighting the future of a further 1.4million children.  In one of the world’s richest countries there is simply no excuse.”


Save the Children’s new estimate is based on work by Landman Economics adding projected future social security cuts, as committed to by all three major parties, to existing Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates.


Save the Children is warning that the ‘Child Poverty Act’ which enshrined in law the commitment to eradicate child poverty in the UK – and is supported by all parties – is increasingly ‘window dressing’ with no party setting out a viable strategy to achieve it.


Justin Forsyth said: “The current all-party commitments to social security cuts in the next Parliament combined with underlying labour market trends and inflation mean no party has a coherent plan to avoid this crisis. Our political class is sleepwalking towards the highest levels of child poverty since records began while promising to eradicate it completely.


It’s time our politicians face the scale of the crisis head on and each party set out a concrete plan to get us back on track ahead of the general election.”


Save the Children is calling for:


– Every child to have access to high-quality and affordable childcare


– A minimum income guarantee for the families of children under 5


– A national mission for all children to be reading well by 11


The report shows that while child poverty levels fell between 1998 and 2004 they stalled thereafter – even before the financial crisis. It also sets out that two thirds of children in poverty now live in working households, a rise of 20% since 2003, with the UK now having one of the highest rates of low pay in the developed world.





Poor childrens life chances determined by age seven Save the Children


Poor children who are behind in the three Rs at the age of seven already have their life chances virtually determined, Save the Children said today.


In a new report entitled “Too Young to Fail,” the charity said being behind at reading, writing and arithmetic at such a young age could prejudice a child’s future earnings, health and, in economic terms, cost the country billions in lost revenue.



Nearly a quarter of children born poor in England who are behind at seven years old – tens of thousands of children across the country – will have less than a one in six chance of getting five good GCSEs through no fault of their own, the charity added.



By the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined. Save the Children says the first two years a child is at school is a crucial window during which to close the attainment gap – but, despite SATs tests at age seven, most of the education system is geared towards assessing attainment at age 11 or the end of secondary school



Without stepping up efforts to help the poorest children, by 2020 up to one in five risk not being able to read properly by the age of seven, the report said.



The charity says there has to be more focus and investment on primary age children because new analysis contained in the report shows that failing to help the poorest primary-age children catch up at school could cost the UK economy £30 billion in untapped potential by 2030, slowing the country’s recovery from recession and preventing it from competing effectively internationally.



Save the Children’s Chief Executive, Justin Forsyth, said: “Many children starting school this term already have the odds stacked against them. These children of the recession, born during the global financial crisis into a world of low growth, stagnant wages and increasing living costs, where communities are feeling the effects of austerity, need our help more than ever. The cost of failing is a young child without a fair chance in life however hard they try.”



Never before has there been such a focus on the effects of poor children falling behind by the age of seven, the charity said. “Too Young to Fail” reveals:



  •  *At every stage of schooling, the UK’s poorest children are likely to               do worse and make less progress than their better-off classmates.
  • *At worst, it can mean higher rates of truancy, anti-social behaviour                  and being more likely to end up in prison.

Save the Children is today launching a nationwide “Born to Read” campaign – in partnership with Beanstalk – to get 23,000 children across England reading over the next four years.



We are aiming to recruit 20,000 ‘change makers’ over the next 4 years who will help us reach children in their first chapters of life, giving them a better chance of fulfilling their potential.



It is also expanding its hugely successful parenting programme – FAST – to more deprived areas of the country to give parents the tools they need to help their children get the best out of their education.



Save the Children is also calling on the government:


  • *To immediately allocate an additional £1000 “fair chances premium” for children aged five, six and seven who are falling behind because the first two years they are in primary school is a crucial window when the most difference can be made to their life chances.
  • *To triple the pupil premium to between £3,000-£4,000 for every eligible primary school pupil by 2020.


  • *And all political parties to set out ambitious policies which will ensure that no child is behind by seven and all children leave primary school with a good education, including being a confident reader.

Bangladesh: country profile

Appalling statistics


Despite being smaller than the UK in area, Bangladesh has one of the largest populations in the world; 162 million people. Tropical monsoons, frequent floods and cyclones inflict heavy damage annually to this impoverished nation, which has devastating consequences for many of the nation’s children.  The most vulnerable children live in remote rural coastal areas, on river chars, temporary landmasses prone to flooding and cut off from mainland services, and hoars, or marshlands.


Life is perilous for children inBangladesh. 50% of families live on under $1.25 a day and access to basic services such as healthcare is very limited, particularly in rural areas. As a result, preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea are claiming children’s lives at an appalling rate. InBangladesh, 1in 19 children do not reach their fifth birthday.


Our work in Bangladesh

Save the Children has been working inBangladeshsince 1970, providing relief during and after the war for independence. Since then we’ve focused on improving children’s nutrition, health, education, food security, and have advocated for child rights governance and child protection within communities and local and national government.


Today we reach over 15 million people every year in all 64 districts of the country.With a staff of over 800 and a network of more than 100 partner organisations, Save the Children is one of the largest children’s organisations in Bangladesh.


Emergency Preparedness


Each year, approximately 25% of the country is inundated by flooding and extreme flooding can affect up to 70% of the country.


Through our emergency response activities, we aim to provide immediate response support to 25% of the most vulnerable children and their care givers in disaster affected areas. We will make sure these children have access to child protection, food and other services they need to survive through a disaster situation.


Additionally, precious educational hours are lost every year meaning higher drop-out rates, lower academic achievement and denial of the basic right of education. We aim to provide children access to education by working closely with the government of Bangladesh to target schools in highly vulnerable areas.


A house, destroyed by the devastating cyclone that hit southern Bangladesh in October 2012. On 10 October 2012 at approximately 2330hrs, a violent tropical storm ripped through the islands of the south east of Bangladesh, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Due to the speed at which the storm formed, the early warning systems had not been activated and no-one was tracking its progress thus the residents of the villages were caught unawares. Tanvir Ahmed, Save the Children (22 Nov 2012).

Disaster awareness and risk reduction play a major role in preventing the loss of lives and livelihoods. We work directly and with partners to prepare coastal vulnerable communities for natural disasters. By including disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities in all of our work, Save the Children is building the resilience of vulnerable communities so they are able to withstand the devastating effects of future flooding. Examples of this are:


* Emergency relief kits in country for immediate deployment when an emergency occurs


* Evacuation plans drawn up and emergency response drills carried out


Cash for work schemes for local people to rebuild more resistant structures

Liberia: country profile ____Save The Children ____

Challenges for Children


Despite experiencing relative stability over recent years since the end of civil war in 2003, Liberia is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Years of conflict have crippled the state’s capacity to deliver services, particularly in the most remote communities. In 2009, 16,000 (or 1 in 9) children under-five died from preventable illnesses, including diarrhoea and pneumonia. A third of these deaths occurred in the first month of life.

Life for mothers in Liberia is also a daily challenge, ranked an astonishing 166th in the State of the World’s Mothers Report 2013. Too many women are unable to access quality healthcare during their pregnancies and at childbirth. In Margibi County, only 28% of births currently take place in a health facility. Furthermore, a child’s chance of survival is intricately linked to that of its mother’s. With maternal mortality still unacceptably high, this means that more children are being put at risk.


Our work in Liberia


Save the Children has worked in Liberia since 1991, and today works to improve children’s access to quality health, education and protection services. Liberia has a population of approximately 4.1million and we have played a central role in the reconstruction, helping thousands of children get back to school or learn vocational skills in areas such as carpentry and computing. We’re also helping communities in six counties recover from the devastating effects of war. Last year, we reached 137,000 children with our work.


Plans for the future


Save the Children has plans in place for 2013 to build six new health facilities in some of the poorest and remote health districts across two counties of Liberia – Montserrado and Margibi.  Save the Children is determined to improve access to healthcare and prevent the deaths of as many children and women as possible. By building a total of six new health facilities, we will be able to provide vital, life-saving medical services to up to 20,000 people each year who are currently unable to benefit from any kind of proper healthcare.


Going the distance

Comfort, is a 17 years old and lives in the inaccessible village of Goe in the Gibi District, Margibi County. Goe is not connected by road and cannot be reached by motorbike. It is a 7 hour walk from Goe to the nearest health centre, the Peter Town Clinic.

Watta, 1 day old, lies in her mother’s arms in Peters Town Clinic Maternal Waiting Room ahead of Watta’s birth. Save the Children support several Maternal Waiting Rooms in rural communities in Liberia to ensure that expecting mothers have access to the essential care needed for a safe delivery. By supporting such facilities, Save the Children is working to ensure that more mothers give birth in clinics with access to trained staff and medicine.


Save the Children helping increasing numbers in Somalia


Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, facing its most severe crisis in almost 20 years, fuelled by the conflict raging in the south and centre of the country.

The Situation

On 25th May the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) reported that 6,200 had fled the Afgooye corridor since the start of the joint African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army offensive against forces of Al-Shabaab on 22nd May. Humanitarian agencies in Mogadishu, who are already struggling to meet the needs of an estimated 184,000 IDPs, are being further challenged by the most recent influx of approximately 5,600 in to the capital. As the offensive against Al-Shabaab continues, there have been reports that dozens of women and children have been killed or injured as they have tried to escape the fighting. The onslaught compounds the misery endured daily by the 410,000 Somalis living in temporary shelters in the Afgooye corridor, home to the world’s largest population of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Despite there being an overall improvement in the nutrition situation since August 2011, levels of acute malnutrition and mortality remain above emergency thresholds in southern Somalia.

What is Save the Children doing?

In southern and central Somalia, Save the Children is responding to the increased number of IDPs entering Mogadishu as a result of the conflict, through expansion in two new camps with health and nutrition services. We are helping families with emergency food, shelter and sanitation. Our primary health care service provision is continuing in Sigale and Darwish IDP settlements meaning 3307 people were able to access medical consultation. . In other areas, water management committees in a total of 17 schools have been established, baseline surveys for livestock treatment under the MFA grant are ongoing as well as shelter support for repairs to CFS and nutrition centres are also continuing. So far our response in Somalia has reached 455,883 beneficiaries, 26,475 of those being new beneficiaries from 14th-27th April, but we need to reach a lot more.