Main report findings
Child Poverty Action Group
The NGO Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has released a new report, The Cost of a Child 2017. Findings show that parents working full time on the ‘national living wage’ are significantly short of the income needed to give children an acceptable minimum living standard. Currently, families in which both parents work full time for the ‘national living wage’ are 13% (or £59 per week) short of what they need to give their children a minimum living standard. The Cost of a Child in 2017 finds the minimum overall cost of a child from birth to 18 (including rent, childcare and council tax) is now £155,142 for a couple, and £187,120 for a lone parent.
Institute for Fiscal Studies
A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that a third of children living in poverty in 2015 were the children of one-earner couples. Those families dependent only on a parent’s income are struggling because of the slow growth in their income.
Ohio State University
A new study conducted by Ohio State University suggests that a socioeconomically disadvantaged pregnant woman’s worries about the arrival and care of her child could contribute to the birth of a smaller, medically vulnerable baby. Researchers found that pregnancy-specific distress was increasing the likelihood of having smaller babies and worse birth outcomes.
A new report by the 4in10 network (a network that seeks to address child poverty in London, where 4 in 10 children live in poverty) found that 60% of providers surveyed are planning to offer the 30 hours, but this falls to 44 per cent in inner London. The report warns that in addition to the 30 hours, London settings face pressures from rising costs including staffing, property, and business rates.
Institute of Economic Affairs
A new study conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) revealed that healthy food is cheaper than junk food, contrary to the common beliefs that healthy eating is relatively expensive and that poor diets and obesity are directly caused by economic deprivation. The ingredients for a nutritious meal can be bought for significantly less than the cost of ‘junk food’, ready-meals and takeaway food. Since healthy food is generally cheaper than less healthy food, it is unlikely that taxes and/or subsidies would have a significant impact on dietary choices.
University of Liverpool
Research found that children of mothers with no academic qualifications are far more likely to be overweight compared to children of mothers with degrees and higher degrees. It identifies a number of early life factors that contribute to child obesity rates. Influential factors – the mother being overweight before pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy, high birth weight, absence of breastfeeding, and weaning onto solid foods before the child was 4 months old – were all significantly associated with an increased risk of being overweight by the time the child reached the age of 11.
Ulm University, Germany
Study found that mothers with more social and financial resources may breastfeed longer than women with less support. Researchers found that, over a decade, women became more likely to continue breastfeeding for 4 to 6 months, but these gains were only limited to more “educated women”. The study found that women with limited income were more likely to need to return to work as soon as possible in order to financially support their family.
Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Found that pupils from deprived backgrounds are returning to school in the autumn less healthy because they have, in many instances, had to go “without food”. A quarter of the polled teachers said they taught children who go hungry during the summer holidays, when free school meals are not available. Almost 40% said they noticed children coming back from their summer break less physically healthy, while half said pupils’ mental health had suffered.
Centre for Economics and Business Research
Research found that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has jumped to £230,000. Parents will spend more than £70,000 for childcare and babysitting alone, and spend another £74,000 on education-related expenses such as uniforms, school lunches, text books and school trips. The costs represent an increase of 65% since 2003.
The report described itself as “London’s first comprehensive food poverty profile”. It found over half a million children in London will struggle for food during school holidays; and one in five London pupils are at risk of hunger during the school day.
University of Southampton
The study found that living in a neighbourhood where there is greater access to fast food outlets “may affect bone development in early childhood”. Their study is the first to investigate links between a neighbourhood food environment and bone mass in the first six years of life. The researchers concluded “If confirmed in future studies, action to reduce access to fast-food outlets could have benefits for childhood development and long-term bone health”.
Copenhagen Business School
Study showed that babies born during a recession are 120g lighter than babies born during a productive economy; the toll of a mother’s financial stress on her foetus has been equated to smoking or drinking. The research was presented at the European Economic Association conference. Link.