Children and the Cost of Living Crisis

The report shows that children living in the North are among the most vulnerable to rising living costs.

26th January 2023

On January 24, 2023, the Child of the North APPG launched its new report titled “Child Poverty and the Cost of Living Crisis”.

The report was prepared by the Northern Health Science Alliance for the APPG The

The analysis shows that child poverty, including fuel poverty and food insecurity, is higher in the North than in the rest of England and for many families, the current economic chaos will deepen an enduring child poverty crisis in the region.

The report found:

  • During the pandemic, 34% of children in the North (around 900,000) were living in poverty, compared with 28% in the rest of England. This equates to 160,000 extra children in poverty in the North.
  • Before the current crisis, around one million households in the North were fuel poor, proportionally more households than in the rest of England – 15% in the North compared to 12%.
  • In the North, the standing charge for energy prepayment meter customers in Yorkshire and the North East is higher (at around £3.80 per week) than the UK average (of £3.60 per week).
  • 23% of children in England who are food insecure miss out on free school meals.
  • Families in the North are more likely to be living in poor quality, damp homes. Before living costs started to rise, over 98,500 homes in the North already had some form of damp and 1.1 million homes in the North failed ‘decent homes’ criteria.

The report authors have issued a stark warning to government that rising living costs will lead to immediate and lifelong harms for children: worsening physical and mental health outcomes; undermining children’s learning, social wellbeing and education; and risking lower lifelong health and productivity.



Emma Lewell-Buck, MP and Co-Chair APPG Child of the North, said: “Whilst poverty is, sadly, not a new experience for many children in the North, the scale and severity of deprivation is now unprecedented. As the cost of living crisis worsens, vulnerable children and families, especially in the North, are being pushed to the edge. This report outlines the injustice of deprivation in our country and presents policy measures that, if implemented, could ensure that children in our region are never left hungry, cold or without.”

Mary Robinson, MP Co-Chair APPG Child of the North, said: “The findings of the report serve as a stark reminder of the devastating reality of child poverty in the North. It is heartbreaking to hear stories of those living this reality and the uncertainty of what the future holds. What is clear is the need for immediate action to tackle the crisis before long-term harm is caused to the children of the North.”

Sophie Balmer, End Child Poverty Youth Ambassador, said: “Having grown up living in a family on a low income, I want to use my voice to explain the reality of what it’s like for hundreds of thousands of children across the North. Even now I am at university and relatively financially secure, the worry doesn’t leave. I remember the unbearable anxiety and how it all impacted on my life. The government needs to help families. It doesn’t feel like an ask anymore. It’s an absolute need.”



List of those who attended the report launch in Parliament:

  • Mary Robinson MP, APPG Co-chair
  • Emma Lewell-Buck MP, APPG Co-Chair
  • Liz Twist MP, APPG Officer
  • Kate Osborne MP
  • Mary Foy MP, APPG Officer
  • Bishop of Durham, APPG Officer
  • Kim Johnson, APPG Vice Chair
  • Rachael Maskell, APPG Vice Chair
  • Mary Glindon MP, APPG Officer
  • Baroness Blake of Leeds, APPG Officer
  • Bishop of Durham, APPG Officer
  • Professor Kate Pickett – Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health at the University of York
  • Professor David Taylor-Robinson Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool
  • Amy Barnes Senior Policy Fellow, the University of York
  • Sophie Balmer Youth Ambassador, End Child Poverty Coalition
  • Hannah Davies Head of External and Public Affairs at the Northern Health Science Alliance
  • Alexis Darby Senior Public Affairs Manager at the Northern Health Science Alliance


You can read the report in full here.


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