We are part of the London Child Poverty Alliance (LCPA), a group of organisations committed to tackling child poverty in London. The LCPA brings together our collective experience and expertise to develop and champion practical solutions to tackle child poverty in London.
What's the issue?
Children are the most likely group to be living in poverty in London. 37% of London’s children live below the poverty line, compared to 24% for working-age adults and 19% for pensioners. Children in London are 9 percentage points more likely to live in poverty than children in the rest of England, which is the largest gap of any age group.
There are 700,000 children living in poverty in the capital, after housing costs have been taken into account. There are many factors which explain London’s high rates of child poverty. It is partly explained by the low employment rate of parents in London, where part-time work and flexible childcare are harder to find. But most children in poverty now live in working households, who are trapped in poverty due to factors such as low wages, high housing costs, transport and childcare.
What are we doing?
The LCPA develops and champions practical recommendations to help reduce child poverty in London.
London Challenge Poverty Week takes place every October, an opportunity to raise our voices against poverty and show what needs to be done to sort it out. Co-ordinated by 4in10: London’s Child Poverty Network, the week sees organisations joining together to speak out about poverty as well as events being held across the capital exploring a range of themes, from housing to children. Full details can be found on the London Challenge Poverty Week website.
In 2018, LCPA launched the Doing Better for London’s Families manifesto, which is aimed at Councils and Councillors in London. It gives them 12 practical recommendations that, if implemented, would help low-income families in their borough.
In 2016, we worked together on the London Mayoral Election, producing a Manifesto for the next Mayor, Family Friendly London.
In 2014, we worked to support candidates adopt more family friendly policies in the local government elections.
And we campaigned during the 2012 London Mayoral Election, asking the new Mayor to commit to a truly family friendly London.
The 2018 manifesto made 12 recommendations to local Councils and Councillors about how to support low-income families.
A summary of these recommendations are below:
Be proactive in seeking the views of low income families about life in the borough
It is important to listen to these residents and to actively engage them to tackle inequalities of voice and power.
Cost of Living
Become an accredited London Living Wage employer
Paying the real living wage helps to give working people what they need to get by. It is also important to support businesses and other local employers to do the same.
Provide comprehensive and joined up Universal Credit Support
Working with Job Centre Plus and advice agencies to ensure that claimants receive financial assistance at every stage of their claim is an important part of addressing child poverty.
Reduce minimum Council Tax payments for low-income and vulnerable residents.
Reducing payments for these residents in your Council Tax Reduction Scheme to below 10% helps to alleviate their tax burden.
Accommodate flexible work
All job vacancies within London local authorities and arms-length organisations should have flexible working as the norm.
Provide affordable childcare
Childcare costs for low-income families are a significant factor trapping them in poverty.
Include childcare in local industrial and economic strategies
This includes planning for flexible childcare to meet the needs of the local workforce
Enforce private rented conditions
Local Authorities should make use of their new powers to enforce these conditions. Low-income Londoners are increasingly reliant on the private sector, and it is vital that these homes are safe.
Adopt the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners supplementary planning guidance
It is particularly important to adopt the sections on viability and affordable housing contributions.
Embrace expectations in Homelessness Reduction Act
This is the biggest piece of homeless legislation since 2002, and places new expectations on Local Authorities. They need to train homelessness staff to make a thorough assessment of need, and provide good quality local housing advice to ensure that people have the support they need to find a new home.
Protect and improve uptake of existing food policies
These include Healthy Start, free school meals, and holiday food provision.
Create a comprehensive food poverty action plan
This should ensure that all children have access to affordable, nourishing food, through – for example – creating a database to share knowledge with local service providers about the drivers of food poverty locally.
Where can I find out more?
The members of the LCPA are below:
4in10, Barnardo’s, Child Poverty Action Group, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Community Links, Family and Childcare Trust, Law Centres Network, London Early Years Foundation, London Food Link, Greater London Volunteering, NEU, Oxfam, Peabody, Pecan Trust, Partnership for Young London, Renters Rights London, SERTUC, Timewise Foundation, Toynbee Hall, Trussell Trust, Trust for London, Women’s Resource Centre, Working Families, RCPCH, Runnymede Trust, Fair Finance and Z2K.