RESPONSE TO SMCP REPORT

December 18, 2015

17th December 2015

Responding today to today’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report , Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action group Alison Garnham said:

“The Commission is right to call for action to boost maternal employment and to raise the minimum wage so fewer people earn less than two thirds of median hourly pay but we need to be clear that cuts in benefits are the key driver of increased child poverty in the UK today.

“The universal credit cuts will make it harder, not easier, for low-paid parents to get better off by earning more. Rather than pursuing plans to scrap the statutory targets for reducing child poverty, the Government needs to restore universal credit in line with the original intention of ensuring that work pays and restore the value of children’s benefits.

“Ministers are making real progress in the provision of childcare but we need much firmer action to reduce the developmental gap between the poorest kids and their peers by making significant improvements in the quality of places. More, free hours is very welcome, but only high- quality places with professionally qualified, properly paid, staff can deliver improved child outcomes.

“The elephant in the room is that the biggest driver of higher poverty and social immobility this decade is the Government choosing to cut billions in benefits and spend billions in tax cuts for richer groups. The tragedy is that the wholesale cuts to universal credit mean that the Government is in jeopardy of decommissioning its main poverty fighting social policy.”

“Nine school children in every class of 30 is in poverty now and the projections are bleak, with an extra 1.5 million estimated to be below the poverty line by 2020 on current policies. The Commission is right to sound a warning on planned cuts to universal credit which will clobber working families just as the discredited tax credits cuts would have had they not be dropped. “

Note 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 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:

Jane Ahrends

CPAG Press and Campaigns Officer

Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302