Due to government measures (Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), 2004) there has been a significant decline in child poverty in the UK. According to the ‘Households Below Average Income’ survey 1994/95 – 2011/12 (HBAI), carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions, 2012, around 1.1 million children had been brought out of poverty between the period of 1998 - 2012. However, there are still approximately 3.6 million children living in poverty in the UK (HBAI, 2012) which is costing the UK around £25 billion each year (Child Poverty Action Group, CPAG, 2012). Much research has been carried out on child poverty, but as Magadi (2010) points out, very little is known about the extent and reasons as to why children are in severe poverty. This research will set out to discuss the major influences on child poverty at local and national level as well as addressing what measures are being taken to deal with the issues of severe child poverty within a primary setting.
Although income is a major contributing factor to poverty, Perry (2002) suggests that it should take in to account a variety of factors due to its multi-dimensional nature (cited in Magadi, 2010, p.298), such as material deprivation. Material deprivation identifies those who are unable to afford things that many people take for granted such as holidays, hobbies and leisure activities or not being able to afford to replace worn out furniture or electrical goods. Measuring poverty on income alone can only lead to an inaccurate calculation of a household’s income. Many experts believe that material deprivation can usefully complement low income as a more reliable combined measure. The DWP (2003) also supports this view; “a better measure of living standards at any point in time can be obtained by measuring both low income and material deprivation combined…” (cited in Magadi, 2010, p.299).