Forty one per cent of all children in the capital are living in poverty once housing costs are taken into account, compared to 28 per cent of children nationwide. Whilst there has been significant progress on reducing child poverty at a national level there has been little consistent improvement in London since 1998/9.
Chair of the Commission, Carey Oppenheim, said: 'London is a world city, thriving and prosperous - but its prosperity masks shockingly high rates of child poverty. The Commission will play a crucial role working with central, regional and local government on developing practical solutions at national, local and neighbourhood level to child poverty in the capital. As a voice for Londoners, the Commission will work closely with the voluntary and statutory sector, employers, front line practitioners and families themselves who are struggling to make ends meet. We want to make a once and for all difference to the life chances of this generation and future generations of children in London.'
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, said: `The establishment of this Commission demonstrates the strong consensus across regional and local government in the capital that this situation is no longer tolerable. This independent Commission will work with all levels of government to identify the policies needed to ensure that all of London's children get a fair start in life.'
Sir Robin Wales, Chair of the Association of London Government, said: 'This is an important initiative which I am sure it will attract support and backing from people and communities right across our capital. We simply cannot allow more than half a million children to continue to live in poverty at a time when London has started work preparing for the 2012 Olympics, where we hope to showcase all that is brightest and best and about our great city. We must do all we can to reduce and end child poverty and the Commission has a vital role to play in tackling this problem.'
The Commissioners have backgrounds in central and local government, social care, business, academia, trade unions, and the voluntary and charitable sectors. The Commission reports to the Mayor and the Association of London Government.
New research out today from the Greater London Authority's Data Management and Analysis Group entitled Parents and Work in London, also indicates that risks of poverty are higher for children in all types of family in London, not just children in lone parent families. The report is available from: http:www.london.gov.uk/gla/publications/factsandfigures/factsfigures/labour_market.jsp
In Inner London - the child poverty rate is 51 per cent and in Outer London it is 34 per cent.
There are some advances, with inner London schools improving at their fastest rate ever, and an increase in tax credit receipt in London. London pilots of in-work credits for the low paid and subsidies for childcare costs help ease the poverty trap.
27% of all children in the capital live in poverty before housing costs - 36% in Inner London - compared to 21% nationwide.
The biggest single cause of child poverty is adult unemployment and worklessness. Despite the creation of 420,000 new jobs between 1997 and 2003, London has the lowest employment rate of any UK region.
At the moment children in London are far more likely to live in households where no one is in work. Some 25 per cent of all children in London live in workless households - compared with a national average of 15 per cent.
A high proportion of those without work are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families and low levels of employment are one of the major reasons for the very high levels of child poverty among ethnic minority families in the capital.
Though earnings are generally higher in London - the gap between highest and lowest has increased over recent years. In London lone parents are much less likely to be in paid work - 40% compared to 54% in the UK.
The high costs of travel and accommodation in the capital also have a major impact on family incomes, added to which many parents also face high childcare costs which undermine the financial rewards of work.