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The cost of a child in 2014

Date:12 AUG 2014
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Journals Manager + Online Editor
A report co-published by the Child Poverty Action Group and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation assesses the changing relationship between the cost of a child and the wages and benefits of families on low incomes, as well as considering some of the key drivers pushing up the cost of living for families and the cost of bringing up a child. 

The report, The cost of a child in 2014, states:

'The cost of bringing up children is a crucial factor affecting family wellbeing and poverty. Many parents find it hard to afford the additional expense that children bring, while often having less disposable income because of caring responsibilities or care costs.

In 2014, the UK economy is starting to grow after the longest period of shrinkage and stagnation in recent times. In these difficult years, families have become less able to afford an adequate living standard, as the cost of bringing up a child has risen much faster than earnings, while help from the state to cover these costs has shrunk. Although wages are now forecast to start growing again, in real terms, the uprating of family benefits and tax credits has been capped at a level below inflation. This means that the reduced living standards being experienced by families on low incomes is not only persisting, but could continue to get worse.

In 2012, the Child Poverty Action Group and the Joseph RowntreeFoundation supported a study developing a systematic calculation ofthe cost of a child. This report is the second annual update of that calculation, and also assesses the changing relationship between the cost of a child and the wages and benefits of families on low incomes.This year’s report also considers some of the key drivers pushing up the cost of living for families.'
The report reveals that the full cost of a child (excluding rent, childcare and council tax)
over 18 years, brought up in a two-parent household is £85,887.34, which amounts to £4,771.52 a year and £91.51 a week. Lone parents are predictably worse off, the face a cost of £105,102.06 over 18 years which equates to £5,839.00 a year and £111.98 a week. 

The report continues, 'Much of the growing difficulty for low-income families in covering the minimum cost of children results from an across-the-board increase in
costs that has not been matched by a growth in household incomes.'

The report goes on to suggest that public policy will be crucial in allowing low-income families to meet their children's costs in the immediate future. 

'Other measures that could keep family costs down include curbing increases in social rents, widening access to free school meals and looking for ways of giving families access to affordable credit. However, the single measure that would do most to make life more affordable for many families with children is giving effective support for paying for childcare or finding other ways to reduce the cost of childcare.'
The full report is available to download here.