Annual Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures show 4.1 million children were living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2017/18, around the same as the year before.
More than 2 million (53%) are under five, up from 51% a year earlier. 700,000 children in “severe” poverty, up from 600,000. And the number of children in absolute poverty, a different measure, rose by 200,000 to 3.7 million.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, said: “It is surely wrong, in a just and compassionate society, that so many children are growing up in poverty.
A record 2.9 million children from working families in the UK are living in poverty after housing costs have been paid, the latest figures show.
This means 70% of all poor children were in working families last year, up from 67% on the previous year, official statistics show.
The face of child poverty is also getting younger with 53% of poor children aged under five, data shows.
It is particularly worrying that the numbers of children in severe and absolute poverty are both rising.”
Meanwhile experts warn a whopping 70% of children in poverty now live in working families – up from 67% the year before – after incomes “stagnated”.
In total 8 million people in poverty were in working families, the Trades Union Congress said.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of people are working hard, but still locked in poverty – that’s not right.
“The system is broken, with low pay, insecure work and the benefits freeze trapping families below the breadline.”
The Child Poverty Action Group warned the Tories’ cruel benefit freeze will plunge another 100,000 children into poverty by 2023-24.
Chief executive Alison Garnham said the figures make “grim reading” adding: “A coalition of charities came together to ask the Chancellor to take the opportunity of his Spring Statement to end the benefit freeze and bring families in from the cold. But the government chose not to.”
The government said that tackling poverty was its priority.
Analysis of the statistics, published by the Department for Work and Pensions, shows the high cost of housing in the UK is pushing more working families over the poverty line.
According to calculations by the National Housing Federation (NHF) , nearly a third more children – or 193,000 – are now living in such meagre circumstances because of spiralling rents and mortgage costs, compared with 2010.
The federation, which represents housing associations, points to a lack of social housing being built over the same period, as well as a lack of affordability of home ownership.
It is calling for the government to urgently invest more money in social housing.
NHF chief executive Kate Henderson said: “Year after year hundreds of thousands more hard-working families are falling into poverty – forced to choose between feeding and clothing their children, or providing a roof over their heads.
“We are now seeing the full effects of low pay, benefit cuts and the housing crisis. The lack of affordable homes is exacerbating in-work poverty.”
Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “Despite high employment, today’s figures reveal that 70% of children living under the poverty line have at least one parent in work.
“That is not an economy that is working for everyone.