•  Children’s Commissioner for England publishes a cross-party call from top politicians and researchers for an over-arching national plan to tackle the blight of child poverty.
  • The collection shows there are no easy fixes in tackling children poverty but argues Government could both help families and stop poverty determining children’s life chances.
  • Anne Longfield warns we have now reached a ‘tipping point’ where both child poverty is rising and the educational outcomes for children in poverty are getting worse – with Covid accelerating these trends.
  • Anne Longfield argues the scale of challenge means both main parties in recent years have put child poverty in the “too difficult” box.
  • Children’s Commissioner urges Government to make reducing child poverty, and improving the chances for children in poverty, one of defining challenges of the age, alongside decarbonising the economy, providing health and social care to an ageing population and preparing the labour market for automation

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, is today (Thursday) publishing a call from a cross-party collection of politicians and campaigners calling for urgent action to tackle the blight of child poverty.

The set of short essays, ‘Child poverty: The crisis we can’t keep ignoring’, ‘Child poverty: The crisis we can’t keep ignoring’,  includes contributions from Robert Halfon MP, chair of the Education Select Committee, DWP Select Committee Chair Stephen Timms MP, Legatum Institute Director Baroness Philippa Stroud, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, David Burrowes of Strengthening Families, Edward Davies of the Centre for Social Justice, Helen Barnard of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Oasis Charitable Trust founder Steve Chalke, Association of Directors of Children’s Services Vice President Charlotte Ramsden, Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust and Hannah Slaughter of the Resolution Foundation. 

Introducing the contributions, Anne Longfield warns that child poverty in England will continue to rise during this Parliament unless the Government commits to a bold, broad response, and that the Covid crisis is creating a child poverty timebomb that could see millions more children falling into poverty without urgent help. In 2010/11, there were 3.6 million children living in relative poverty in the UK after housing costs. By the start of the Anne Longfield’s term as Children’s Commissioner, in 2014/15, the number had risen to 3.9 million, rising to 4.2 million or 30% of children by 2018/19.  By the end of this parliament, even if there is a strong economic recovery, one in three children will be living in relative poverty – a level not seen since the 1990s.

While growing up in poverty doesn’t necessarily mean an unhappy childhood, it can make life a lot harder for children. In a survey carried out last year by the Children’s Commissioner, one in five children listed “not having enough money” as one of their top three worries. 5% listed “not having enough food or clothes”.  Not only does poverty bring material hardship for children, it harms their future life chances. At every stage of education, poorer children do worse than their more affluent peers. As a result, they are more likely to enter adulthood with fewer opportunities. Previous Children’s Commissioner’s Office research shows that children receiving Free School Meals (FSM) are more than twice as likely as their peers to leave education without a Level 2 Qualification (5 GCSEs, a technical equivalent or an apprenticeship).

For the first time in decades, the disadvantage gap between children in poverty and their peers during school has increased, while the disadvantage gap at age 19 has been increasing for several years. In short, for the first time in decades there is a double-whammy of rising child poverty and worsening life chances for children in poverty. Covid-19 will only have accelerated these trends.

Anne Longfield is also urging the Government to end the uncertainty and worry facing families around whether the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift introduced by the Chancellor at the start of the Covid crisis will be retained. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation this week shows that over 300,000 children would be shifted into poverty if the uplift is removed in April.

In the set of essays:

  • Baroness Stroud sets out the importance of Government understanding child poverty, its prevalence and its different manifestations.
  • Tony Blair explains the importance of an over-arching child poverty strategy which connects different elements of Government together.
  • Stephen Timms MP takes this further with a call for Government to return to an over-arching child poverty target which provides the underlying impetus for a series of further decisions.
  • Robert Halfon MP sets out the need to focus on those children currently being left behind, and what we need to do now, and in the future, to help them.
  • Ed Davies emphasises the role of the family in supporting children’s education outcomes, draws the lessons from previous economic crises and calls for immediate action to strengthen families.
  • David Burrowes looks at the community infrastructure we need to address the social isolation which accompanies poverty and which has been shown to impact on children’s development.
  • Steve Chalke writes about the need to work with deprived communities to help them to help themselves.
  • Charlotte Ramsden writes about how the state can support communities and families by working with them.
  • Helen Barnard discusses the barriers to work as a way out of poverty for some families.
  • Emma Revie focusses on the blight of food poverty and hunger, setting out what is needed to ensure families can feed their children.
  • Hannah Slaughter looks at the relationship between work and social security in helping families out of poverty.

Anne Longfield 100x100Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said:

“Child poverty was already a problem before the pandemic, but it has been laid bare by the Covid crisis and cannot be ignored any longer. The shocking image of a family being sent half a carrot in a food parcel shows a system of support that, as well as often falling short, is at times demeaning and stigmatising.

“Yet some are still squeamish about even using the phrase ‘child poverty’. Neither of the two main political parties fought the last General Election on plans to reduce child poverty significantly, despite the fact it has been rising for most of the past decade.

“In the short term, I want the Government to commit to keeping the £20 UC uplift. But too often, these kind of policy changes to help people in poverty are a sticking plaster for the symptoms, made as a result of short-term political embarrassment. That must change.

“I am pleased to publish this collection of essays, which makes powerful arguments for an overhaul of the current system, with positive and practical solutions for cutting the number of children living in poverty. Both Ministers and the Opposition should take these ideas on board.

“I believe child poverty is one of the four major political, economic and social challenges facing us, along with decarbonising our economy, looking after an ageing population, and preparing the jobs market for automation. We need to treat it with the same seriousness, and even greater urgency.

“Politicians must take child poverty out of the ‘too difficult box’ now, and come up with a big, bold, long-term plan for fixing it.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

#AntiRacismInAction : Wales | Episode 4

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page