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4 June, 2020 Open access

Without urgent action, more than a million extra people face poverty at end of 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic

However, increases in child poverty could be entirely prevented by removing the two-child limit and benefit cap, and increasing child benefit by £5 per week, says IPPR

Without urgent action, more than a million extra people face poverty at the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

In new analysis, the IPPR reports that, although emergency reforms to universal credit introduced in March will mean around 100,000 children are likely to have moved out of poverty by the end of this year, this is more than offset by the 300,000 children who are likely to be newly pushed into poverty. Overall, the IPPR predicts that the economic fallout of COVID-19 is likely to lead to 1.1 million more people moving below the pre-pandemic poverty line as a result of the crisis.

However, the IPPR's analysis also shows that the predicted rise in child poverty is entirely preventable - and, in fact, a modest fall could be achieved - by - 

Calling on the government to include these measures as part of its economic stimulus package this summer, IPPR Associate Director Clare McNeil said - 

'This analysis shows that hundreds of thousands of families and their children who may have been ‘just about managing’ before COVID now face being plunged into poverty.

The government must apply the same level of ambition it had for supporting businesses and workers in the early stages of this crisis, to prevent a new generation of children and their families falling into poverty through no fault of their own.

The Chancellor must include in this summer’s stimulus a package of measures to support families alongside funding for physical infrastructure and job creation. This should include removing the universal credit austerity measures, supporting family and carer incomes and investing in childcare to open up more options for parents to return to work.'

For more information see 1.1 million more people face poverty at end of 2020 as a result of coronavirus pandemic, finds IPPR from