24 October 2008
By Vivienne Russell
Child poverty is reducing the UK's economic potential and imposing a massive burden on taxpayers, researchers said this week.
An October 23 report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that child poverty costs at least £25bn each year in losses to the Treasury and reduced gross domestic product.
Donald Hirsch, JRF poverty adviser, said reducing child poverty would not be cheap but the benefits would be widespread.
'Tackling child poverty would bring a double benefit — for the families whose life chances and quality of life would be improved and for society, which would no longer have to pay such high costs for picking up the pieces,' he said.
Separate research, also published this week, showed that the gap between rich and poor had narrowed since 2000. Researchers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development hailed the development as 'remarkable'. But they added that the UK still had one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world.