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Eradicating child poverty in Britain: welfare reform and children since 1997

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  • Mike Brewer

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and ISER, Essex University)

  • Paul Gregg

Abstract

Over the past 20 years the incidence of relative poverty among Britain's children has tripled. These changes are related to increased earnings inequality, growth in the number of single (lone) parent households, and an increased share of households with children with no working adult. The Labour Government has responded by adopting as a policy objective ending child poverty by 2020. Initial steps toward this end include increasing direct financial support to families with children, creating financial incentives for work for parents, adopting more intensive case management for the welfare caseload, and ameliorating the long-term consequences of the deprivation poverty brings. The Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC) is the centerpiece of the financial support innovations but there is a broader swathe of welfare reforms which has received less attention. Overall, the U.K. system provides more generous support to the lowest-income families than is available in the U.S., and recent reforms have directly reduced child poverty. For most households, the reforms have reduced marginal benefit deduction rates and increased incentives to work. Preliminary evidence suggests the changes have had greatest effect on single parents. Continued progress requires the adoption of a more specific procedure for defining and measuring child poverty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W01/08.

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Length: 48 pp
Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:01/08

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Keywords: Welfare; inequality; in-work benefits; child poverty;

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References

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  1. Richard Blundell & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market?," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 411-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan00-1, July.
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  17. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "Mind the Gap, Please: The Changing Nature of Entry Jobs in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 499-524, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gregg, Paul & Waldfogel, Jane & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2006. "Family expenditures post-welfare reform in the UK: Are low-income families starting to catch up?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 721-746, December.
  2. Bennett, Roger, 2007. "Advertising message strategies for encouraging young White working class males to consider entering British universities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 932-941, September.
  3. Wolfgang Ochel, 2001. "Financial Incentives to Work - Conceptions and Results in Great Britain, Ireland and Canada," CESifo Working Paper Series 627, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Wolfgang Ochel, 2003. "Welfare to Work in the United Kingdom," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 56-62, 02.

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