Government must focus on reducing not redefining poverty

November 14, 2012

Commenting ahead of the launch of a new government consultation on better ways of measuring child poverty, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

"It's perfectly sensible to look at the progress the government is or is not making across a broad range of indicators affecting children and families, but there’s no getting away from the plain fact that if child poverty is rising as a result of government policies then it's a rethink of government decisions not definitions that's needed.

“The projected rises in child poverty over the next few years, after a decade in which the UK's child poverty reductions were the largest in the OECD, are terrifying for anyone who has a heart for children or a head for the nation's finances. Rather than spending £25 billion every year living with the social and economic fallout of child poverty, ministers should be moving heaven and earth to protect children from cuts and prevent child poverty happening in the first place.”

Alison Garnham on current child poverty measure

“We’re really pleased it looks like ministers have accepted that the UK will not abandon the internationally-accepted definition of relative poverty and will remain committed to the four targets and broad approach contained in the Child Poverty Act which all the main parties signed up to in 2010.

“By measuring whether the poor are getting poorer compared to the rest of society, the relative income poverty measure is the single best indicator of whether 'we're all in it together’."

Alison Garnham on child poverty priorities

“Six in ten poor children live in a working family. Children are much more likely to be in poverty because they have a parent who is a security guard or a cleaner than one who is a drug addict or 'feckless' so any future child poverty strategy has to be balanced and show the Coalition is on the side of these families. 

“These parents are some of the hardest working people in the country, working the longest hours, for the lowest pay and with the highest aspirations for themselves and their children. We owe them and their children a helping hand to ensure they aren’t condemned to working-poverty.”


Notes to Editors

  • 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, which has over 150 member organisations and is 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