Child poverty manifesto launched on 10th anniversary of Blair pledge

March 18, 2009

Expert group says action needed from Scottish and UK governments

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is today publishing, Ending Child Poverty: a manifesto for success to mark the 10th anniversary of the UK Government’s pledge to eradicate child poverty.

John Dickie, Head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

“We can, and must, end child poverty in Scotland and across the UK. Our deeply unequal society damages children most of all. An immoral economy, where greed was justified by the tyranny of markets, lies behind both our current economic crisis and our child poverty shame. We must rebuild our economy to end child poverty, not fuel it. Our manifesto shows how we can achieve that.”

“In Scotland there are at least 80 000 fewer children in poverty than ten years ago. Promises to end child poverty by government at Westminster and then Holyrood have had real effect, but we must go further and faster.

“UK Ministers must channel a major fiscal stimulus through benefits and tax credits for families in poverty. By using next months Budget to invest at least £3 billion in benefits and tax credits Alistair Darling can keep the promise to halve child poverty by 2010, and boost the grassroots of the economy.

“But this manifesto also demands action from the Scottish Government. Action to build on its groundbreaking free school meals policy and address the other high costs that too often blight children’s education. Action to remove barriers to work and to ensure affordable high quality childcare is available to all parents, and action to ensure all children grow up in warm, healthy and safe homes.”

Notes for editors
  • CPAG’s Ending Child Poverty: a manifesto for success will be published on 18th March.
  • On 18th March 1999, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a speech at Toynbee Hall: "Our historic aim will be for ours to be the first generation to end child poverty. It will take a generation. It is a 20-year mission, but I believe it can be done."
  • The summary and introduction to the manifesto include ten key steps needed to end child poverty and ten reasons to be angry about how children become trapped in poverty today.
  • For up-to-date background facts and stats on UK poverty, visit: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/child-poverty-facts-and-figures For Scottish figures see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/06/09143258/3 table A1.2. According to the government’s official measure 210 000 children in Scotland still live in poverty (live in households with below 60% median income before housing costs are taken into account) compared to 300 000 in 1998/99. According to CPAG’s preferred measure (i.e. after taking housing costs into consideration) 250 000 children in Scotland still live in poverty, compared to 330 000 in 1998/99.
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is one of over 150 member organisations of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending child poverty by 2020 are met.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

John Dickie Head of CPAG in Scotland on 07795 340 618 or 0141 552 3656