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Child poverty is one of the biggest problems currently facing the UK, particularly in those local authorities with high numbers of families on or below the poverty line. Children growing up in poverty have lower life expectancies, educational achievements and employment outcomes than those brought up with access to the resources and support they need, and it is absolutely vital that government – both local and national – act decisively to eradicate child poverty wherever they find it.
With child poverty expected to rise further over the next five years, and many families facing rising prices, rising housing costs, and homelessness, it is clear that something needs to be done. Local authorities are the frontline of the government’s response to child poverty, and it is vital that they meet their legal obligations set out in the Child Poverty Act, which include producing a child poverty needs assessment and a child poverty strategy to guide poverty reduction work.
However, 4Children’s research revealed that over half of all local authorities have not produced a child poverty strategy. Further, around 1/3 did not have a needs assessment, and some of those with a technical strategy contained only a brief reference in a Children and Young People’s plan. Consequently, 4Children created an assessment tool called the STAMP of approval which highlighted the key features that every child poverty strategy should have: Strategic Leadership, Targeting, Accessibility, Mapping and Partnerships. The assessment tool is designed to ensure that local councils are not cutting corners and are properly engaging with poverty reduction.
You can read the full report here to find out the performance of your local authority, your region, and the country here.
UPDATE: This report is a slightly updated version of the report we published on 1st May, and now notes that Bexley and Sheffield have a child poverty strategy, and Central Bedfordshire has a child poverty needs assessment.