Child Poverty strategy proposals need much greater ambition to reverse failures

February 27, 2014

Commenting on today’s publication of the government consultation on their new child poverty strategy, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“After a long wait, we’re disappointed to see a list that contains little new, or likely to make a dent in the numbers of children growing up in poverty.

“We can reduce child poverty under the existing measurement – we know this because other countries have much lower child poverty under the same measure. If they can do better for their children, we can do better for British children too. It will continue to be the measure by which independent experts hold the government to account.

“Parents want secure jobs, living wages, fair rents and affordable childcare. This should not be too much to ask in one of the world’s richest economies, yet these things remain out of reach for millions of families. The draft strategy is weak in these essential areas with nothing to say on living wages and only limited investment in affordable homes.

“Childcare and school costs are better areas, with the government understanding the importance of investment and the future returns it will bring. We need this ambition to spread throughout the strategy.

"At the heart of the strategy should be the promise that the growing economy will give more to those at bottom than to those at the top. This will need strong wage growth for the lowest paid, more job security and affordable rents, which means taking some tough decisions to stop those at the top running off with all the proceeds of growth.

“We hope ministers listen to these concerns during the consultation and recognise that unless they take bold action we're heading for a costly child poverty crisis - child poverty already costs Britain £29bn a year."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Ministers have alleged in the strategy that “the doctrine of poverty plus a pound has failed”, however there has never been such a doctrine. Previous strategy has always been broader and included matters such as investment in skills and training, work-related support, the establishment of Sure Start centres, early years care and investment in schools. Claims that previous policy focused on lifting just a sub-group of children only slightly over the poverty line have been refuted by analysis showing that many more children  - from well below the line, all the way up to the median - were also helped. See for example Mike Brewer’s chapter in CPAG’s publication Ending Child Poverty by 2020: http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CPAG-ECPby2020-1212_0.pdf
  • 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 the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

For further information please contact:

Tim Nichols

CPAG Press Officer

Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302 

tnichols@cpag.org.uk

www.cpag.org.uk