Around 550,000 children (1 in 7) with a parent working in the public sector will be living in poverty by the end of this financial year, according to new TUC analysis published today (Thursday).
The research found that since 2010 an extra 150,000 children have been pushed below the breadline, as a direct result of public sector pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts.
The analysis shows that 1 in 7 children (550,000) living with a public sector worker in their family will be below the poverty line this April – an increase of 40% since 2010.
Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes, the TUC claim.
Their average household income will be down around £83 a week in real terms by April 2018.
Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £53 a week.
The South West has seen the biggest increase in child poverty rates among families with a public sector worker in England, up 55%, closely followed by the North West (+51%) and East Midlands (+50%).
Separate TUC analysis shows that holding down public servants’ pay reduced spending power by £8.5bn in England alone last year.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government’s pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts are causing needless hardship.
“Public servants shouldn’t have to worry about feeding or clothing their kids. But many are struggling to afford even the basics.
“Ministers must give public sector workers the pay rise they have earned. If they don’t more families will fall into poverty.”
Responding to TUC analysis, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Employment and Inequalities Margaret Greenwood said: “The increase in child poverty is a direct result of this Government’s utter failure to tackle the rising cost of living and stagnating wages and its slashing of the social security support available to families.
“It is sadly no surprise that the Tories refuse to set a target to reduce child poverty.
“It is completely unacceptable that public sector workers and their families are struggling to make ends meet.
“The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that cuts to Universal Credit will mean a million more children living in poverty by the end of the decade than would have under the original design.
“To make matters worse, the Government’s plans to restrict free school meals are creating a cliff-edge in provision for low-paid working families.
“A Labour government will put an end to the public sector pay cap and ensure security and dignity for all.”