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Save the Children, 28th March 


The Government has released this year’s ‘Households below average income’ statistics. They show that poverty is rising fastest among the under-fives. One in three preschool children are living in poverty. Please find below a statement in response to the new figures.

Martha Mackenzie, Save the Children Director of UK Poverty Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, said:

“Today’s figures show that poverty is rising fastest among the under-fives in the UK. One in three preschool children are living in poverty. That’s more than any other age group – and is disastrous for the future life-chances of these children.

“Poverty has a profound impact on children from the very start of their lives. Poorer children are more likely to start primary school without the basic skills they need, such as being able to speak in full sentences. We know that many of these children may never catch up.

“The Government have said they are committed to boosting social mobility. Yet today’s figures show that we are going backwards, and even more pre-school children are sinking into poverty. This must be a wakeup call – we need urgent action to reverse this trend.”

  • More than two million families with children under five were in poverty last year; 
  • This was up by more than 27% from 2010, or in excess of 400,000 children;
  • They’re the group of children with highest risk of poverty – a one in three chance; 
  • Risk of poverty is a third higher for families with children under five than others;  
  • Highest risk in over a decade.

Notes to editors

In the UK Save the Children focuses on tackling poverty and providing opportunity during the critical first years of life, from birth through to the start of primary school. Working with local primary schools, nurseries and local authorities the charity helps busy mums and dads boost their children’s early learning at home - building their confidence, and showing them how to make learning easy and fun for their children.

We campaign to secure improvements to the support families receive for childcare through Universal Credit and the quality of childcare through support for the childcare workforce. By focusing on the most disadvantaged children’s early learning, we’re aiming to see all children reach their potential. 

These figures are based on analysis by Save the Children of the Household Below Average Income data from 2010 to today’s release.