Alison Garnham's blog
If the Government goes ahead with its plans to redefine child poverty then it will be turning its backs on poor children and on the past.
No redefinition can hide the reality that the Government’s child poverty strategy is failing. It was only a year ago that Iain Duncan Smith was claiming the child poverty targets would be met but last week’s child poverty statistics showed that absolute child poverty has risen by half a million since 2010 and that progress on relative poverty has stalled.
‘A strong society means moving forward together, no one left behind, fighting relative poverty a central policy goal.’ Well, Child Poverty Action Group would say that, wouldn’t they? In fact, these are the words of David Cameron, less than a decade ago, a day on which he also proclaimed: ‘I want this message to go out loud and clear: the Conservative party recognises, will measure and will act on relative poverty’.
We really are living in the age of the permanent campaign. The general election was just weeks ago, but the main parties and political commentators have moved on and are looking at events through the lens of the 2020 election. Before that happens, it’s worth noting something pretty peculiar about the 2015 campaign.
This blog first appeared on The Staggers, on the New Statesman website.
When George Osborne claimed in last month’s Budget to have reduced child poverty, I’m sure mine weren’t the only raised eyebrows. Michael Gove made a similar claim yesterday, that the government has ‘been able to save £21bn in the welfare budget and at the same time reduce inequality and reduce child poverty in this country’. Important analysis published today by the New Policy Institute (NPI) hones in on the subtle flaw in this piece of political alchemy: it isn’t true.
This article originally appeared in the Bright Blue and the Fabian's publication A future without poverty.
Since 2010 the Government has overseen an ambitious, large-scale programme of income redistribution.
"I'm not going to flannel you, I'm going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn't change child benefit, I wouldn't means-test it, I don't think that is a good idea."
So said David Cameron in March 2010. But the Prime Minister is being urged to drop this read-my-lips pledge when his party draws up its manifesto in the coming months.