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UNICEF UK responds to The Rt Hon Frank Field MP Independent Review on Poverty and Life

UNICEF UK welcomes Frank Field’s Review and the Government’s continued commitment to tackling child poverty. The focus on investing in the first 5 years of a child’s life is entirely in line with UNICEF research and UNICEF UK also welcomes the broad approach to tacking child poverty in the report.

However, the UNICEF report, ‘Children Left Behind’, published recently confirms that income poverty matters. In particular, the UK has a particularly high level of inequality in access to basic education resources at home. Frank Field’s report acknowledges there are concerns about the brightest poor children falling behind richer less able children between 5-10yrs old. If this concern is to be addressed it is clear that access to these resources in the home needs to improve, which can only be done by addressing household income poverty.

‘Children Left Behind’ demonstrates clearly that the most potent fact about children who fall behind their peers is that by and large they are children of families at the bottom end of the socio-economic scale. Addressing income poverty is crucial to giving the most disadvantaged children the best chance to fulfil their potential.

David Bull, Executive Director UNICEF UK said, ‘We must not lose sight of the importance of family income to eradicating child poverty in this country. We must ensure that no family with children has to live on an income which cannot provide the warmth, shelter and food they need.’

‘A response that there is no money left to support poor children is false. Child Poverty is estimated to cost £25bn a year through costs to business, the police, courts and health and education services. The UK Government could actually raise money through a Robin Hood Tax on the financial sector that could raise up to £20 billion for children living in poverty. A focus on income remains indispensible if we are to give the most disadvantaged children the best chance to fulfil their potential.’

Media Contact

For further information or images please contact Stephen Pattison, UNICEF UK on (0)20 7336 8922 or email stephenp@unicef.org.uk


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget.

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