Section 4: The combined low income and material deprivation target
15.Section 4 sets the combined low income and material deprivation target. The target is that less than 5% of children who live in qualifying households live in households that have an equivalised net income below 70% of median equivalised household income before housing costs and experience material deprivation. This target focuses on those children who live in households that experience both a low income and a low standard of living, meaning that they are experiencing the effects of living in poverty.
16.Children are materially deprived if they live in households that cannot afford a range of basic activities, such as such as school trips for the children, or celebrations on special occasions, or if they cannot afford basic material goods, such as fuel to keep their home warm. A child experiencing material deprivation may therefore lack many of the experiences and opportunities that other children take for granted, and can be exposed to severe hardship and social exclusion.
17.Subsection (3) imposes on the Secretary of State a duty to make regulations setting out the circumstances in which a child would be regarded as experiencing material deprivation in a particular year. These circumstances might include the household in which the child lives being unable to afford particular goods or services.
18.The regulation-making power will enable the Government to establish what is meant by “material deprivation” and to update this definition over time to ensure that the combined low income and material deprivation target continues to reflect contemporary living standards. Experts consulted by the Child Poverty Unit have advised that such adjustments may be needed. This power is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.