This is a TUC press release referring to a new report by my friend and sometimes co-author Howard Reed, out today, so I reproduce it pretty much in full (noting I too work for the TUC), whilst noting we have a related report out next week:
Government welfare and tax changes, together with lower than forecast wage growth, will leave the majority of children in the UK living in families below the breadline by 2015, according to new TUC research published ahead of its A Future For Families rally in central London later today (Wednesday).
Tax and welfare reforms alone - both existing and future changes - will be responsible for nearly half a million more children living below the breadline, says the TUC.
A Bleak Future For Families - a TUC report based on analysis by Howard Reed of Landman Economics - examines the current and future impact of various benefit and welfare changes, including Universal Credit, direct and indirect tax changes and real wage growth since 2010 on the incomes of different households and family types.
The research finds that the cumulative impact of government policies and slower than forecast wage growth over the course of this parliament will mean that 690,000 more children will be living below the minimum income standard - the level of income needed to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living in the UK - by 2015.
Minimum income standards (MIS), widely accepted and established by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2008, vary by family type. For example, the current MIS for a single pensioner is £12,623, rising to £23,992 for a single parent with two children and £24,643 for a couple with one child.
Tax and welfare changes, including tax credit cuts, the VAT rise and the increase in the personal allowance, will have the biggest net impact in terms of increasing the number of children whose families are struggling to make ends meet - pushing 460,000 more children below the breadline by 2015.
Slower than initially forecast wage growth over the course of this parliament pushes another 170,000 below the minimum income standard, while the pay freeze and cap for public sector workers will see 80,000 more children falling into hardship.
When all these changes are taken into account, Universal Credit - the government's flagship welfare scheme designed to tackle poverty and make work pay - will only lift 20,000 children above the MIS, says the research.
The research shows that an extra one million families will be living below the minimum income standard by 2015, compared to where they would have been under the policies and forecasts the government inherited in 2010. The majority (54.4 per cent) of children will be living below the MIS in two years time, says the TUC.
A Bleak Future For Families shows that nine in ten families will be worse off by 2015, with only the poorest ten per cent of households better off - and then only by a measly 57p a week. A middle income household will be nearly £1,200 a year worse off by 2015 - a 6.6 per cent cut in their income - with the biggest single loss as a result of tax credit cuts (-£505).
The research shows that while all bar the top ten per cent of households are net gainers as a result of changes to the personal allowance and the primary threshold for national insurance, all these gains are wiped out by the VAT rise in 2011. The poorest ten per cent of households gain just a penny a week from direct tax cuts but lose £3.38 by the VAT rise.
While the government has justified welfare cuts by saying that they target those out of work, working families are also hit hard by government austerity policies, says the research. Working lone parents are set to lose the equivalent of 8.2 per cent of their total income - far more than the median household loss of 6.6 per cent - mainly as result of tax credit cuts.
Households in Wales (-7.2 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (-6.9 per cent) will suffer the sharpest loss in incomes. This is partly due to the higher than average concentration of public sector workers in these regions, who are facing the biggest real terms cut in their wage packets.
I applaud Howard's work and the role of the TUC in publishing it. But when the Tories are looking to publish their 'ten achievements' of government (one being vetoing an EU decision) we should remember the shame they have brought on the UK by delivering a deliberate, planned increase in child poverty and never let anyone forget this was their choice when they were at the same time cutting tax for the best off.