UK lags behind on child inequality


New Unicef research has found that the UK is lagging behind other rich countries on reducing inequalities between rich and poor children, reports the BBC.

The UN body said it found concerning gaps in health, education, and income, and that the lack of progress means ambitions to eradicate child poverty are unlikely to be realised in coming years.

The gap between rich and poor had narrowed in the UK in recent years, largely because the income of the poorest families had fallen more slowly than that of the average household, Unicef said in its Report Card 13 report.

But Unicef added that were it not for benefits, the income gap in Britain would be among the greatest in Europe.

One area of concern was the difference in the UK between wealthier and poorer children's performance in reading, maths and science.

Overall, British pupils were ranked 25th out of 37 countries, behind their counterparts in Slovenia, Poland and Romania.

Another key area of concern was the disparity in healthy behaviours, predominantly consumption of fruit and vegetables, among children of different social backgrounds.

The UK was ranked bottom for the contrast in healthy eating between well-off and poorer children. It also did badly on measures of physical activity,

Unicef UK's deputy executive director, Lily Caprani, said: "Britain can and must do better. Inequality between children is damaging their lives and aspirations.

"The UK government should adopt, as a matter of urgency, a childhood obesity strategy that promotes and supports healthy lifestyles for low-income children."