Advertisement
Social Justice

Half of kids in English private rents are living in poverty

The study calls for real social housing investment by the government to help pull families out of the mire

Nearly half of children living in privately rented homes in England live in poverty, new research has revealed.

A study by the National Housing Federation (NHF) found that around 1.3 million children in private rentals fall below the poverty line – a 69 per cent (537,325) increase since 2008.

The report blamed unaffordable property prices and insufficient social housing for the boom in families, who have already been hit by tax credits cuts and the Universal Credit roll out, staying in private rentals.

Despite the high poverty rates, seven in ten of the families are in work. The NHF is demanding the government create more social housing to help pull low-income families out homes they cannot afford and out of poverty.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “It is a disgrace that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world we cannot provide our children with a secure and affordable home.

“The critical lack of social housing is pushing more and more families into poverty by forcing them into insecure privately rented homes they cannot afford.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“It’s so obvious that we need to be building more social housing and the government has a duty to our children to invest in this. This means increasing funding for social housing and urgently reforming the way that land is sold in this country.

“We will only be able to build desperately needed social homes for children living in poverty if housing associations have access to land instead of the current situation where they are forced to bid directly against private developers who make millions from luxury properties.”

Over 10 years the number of low-income families renting has grown by more than three quarters, which was faster than couples and single people.

The NHF also said almost a quarter-of-a-million of these children would not be living in poverty if their families could access social housing.

Darren Baxter, housing policy and partnerships manager for JRF said: “It is not right that any child should be swept into poverty, or live in a family which struggles to keep food on the table or a roof over their head. But this is the reality for more than four million children in the UK – and it doesn’t have to be this way.

“Many families are now unable to access low-cost rented homes and this means they can be stuck in expensive or unsuitable accommodation, despite the fact that more people are in work than ever.

“Working families are increasingly being swept into poverty by their essential costs such as housing, and we need to see decisive action to tackle this. As well as making sure that work is a route out of poverty, we need to see a step change in the number of low-cost rented homes being built and made available for those who need them.

“That’s why we are calling on government to set out a plan to increase the supply of social housing, at rent levels that ensure affordability for families on low incomes.”

Last year the NHF and Crisis announced that 90,000 new social homes would need to be built in England each year to meet demand. However, in 2018, 6,463 were built.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Food poverty in the UK: The causes, figures and solutions
Food poverty

Food poverty in the UK: The causes, figures and solutions

12 Black Britons everyone should know about
Social Justice

12 Black Britons everyone should know about

'People will starve and freeze' if government U-turns on promise to increase benefits
Cost of living crisis

'People will starve and freeze' if government U-turns on promise to increase benefits

Children as young as 14 are having to get jobs to provide for their families
Cost of living crisis

Children as young as 14 are having to get jobs to provide for their families

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.