Social Policy and Society

Themed Section on The Poverty of Policy? Gaps in Anti-Poverty Policy for Children and Young People

Ethnicity and Child Poverty under New Labour: A Research Review

Viet-Hai Phunga1

a1 Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University E-mail:


This review article explores the evidence on child poverty rates amongst different ethnic groups in the UK. The Labour Government aims to end child poverty by 2020. Its strategy rests on improving employability, making work pay and expanding childcare provision. But child poverty rates among ethnic minorities are higher than among white people, which suggests that policies to reduce these have been ineffectual. The factors underlying this differential include labour market disadvantage, insensitive mainstream services and the language barriers that may cause low take-up of services, benefits and tax credits. The article concludes by suggesting a number of policy strategies that government could take to reduce the levels of child poverty amongst ethnic minorities.