Our Research and Learning Officer, Emily, discusses three questions on the issue of child poverty in London. This piece is split across three blog posts:  


How do we end child poverty?

This is a big task. Let’s say tomorrow the government printed money and gave it to every family under the relative poverty line and promised to keep sending them money to ensure they never fall below that line, would child poverty end? If that question were posed to different politicians and members of the public, I’m sure several revealing answers would emerge. The reality is that things are much more complicated than just money. But as a start, money really does help. The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit that was temporarily put in place during the pandemic pulled 400,000 children out of poverty. Other estimates claim that making this permanent would lift 500,000 children out of poverty. So money must be part of our child poverty strategy. So too would other public systems. Having an adequately sustained NHS and mental health services would keep children and their parents well, which cuts costs, both in terms of health itself and the knock-on effects of poor health.  

Flexible working could also be seen as a support structure to allow adults, particularly women, to work consistently and progress in their careers while also caring for their children. And there’s also the housing issue. In London housing is incredibly expensive and too many affordable options are unsuitable. Guaranteeing affordable homes for everyone can be seen as part of a child poverty strategy.  

So it’s about money, but it’s also about a community-based strategy. We need to eradicate the shame. There is no reason to judge people. Ending shame is not ending personal responsibility. Ending child poverty requires us to work together. It means believing the evidence that shows the causes of inequality and poverty are multiple and intersecting. It also means, perhaps, as a community taking on the shame that we don’t yet know how to support each other well enough. Privilege and discrimination has blinded many of us to our own personal responsibility. We can do better at that, but we need to be honest about our role and how we can learn to support each other more holistically and with respect.  

4in10, London’s Child Poverty Network is committed to supporting collaborative working. We are a network of organisations who want to see an end to child poverty in London. There is so much brilliance bottled up in the children of this city. When we invest in them and make sure each of them has an opportunity to thrive, then we will begin to see transformations that we will all benefit from.  

London’s Child Poverty Alliance, the policy sub-group of London’s Child Poverty Network has identified four key areas that can be catalysts for change. In our Manifesto, we outline current areas of inequality and systemic failure that are points of potential transformation that could ultimately bring an end to child poverty in London. Secure, adequate income will give families the resource to access what they need. All across London, our homes are fundamental to our health and wellbeing. When our homes are of decent quality, the comfort and security they provide enrich our lives and support our mental and physical health. Every child deserves the best start in life, ending child poverty means ensuring every child has access to the early education and childcare to thrive. Lastly, having access to nutritious and reliable food sources so that all children are free from hunger can target one of the essential threats of child poverty. Together, we can make child poverty a way things used to be rather than how we live now if we target these four areas as crucial pinch points of poverty to make London a fairer city for every child.