Ending child poverty

In 1999, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair made a commitment to halve child poverty by 2010, and eliminate child poverty by 2020. After many years of being a neglected issue, child poverty was back on the political agenda.

During the first decade of the millennium, governments implemented a host of policies designed to tackle child poverty. From increases in existing benefits to new child-targeted assistance, investments in early years intervention to programmes to help lone parents into work, a wide range of actions increased incomes and provided tailored services to help families living in poverty.

Over time, support for the child poverty agenda has moved beyond the party-political. In 2007, for example, David Cameron committed his party to addressing child poverty, stating ‘Ending child poverty is central to improving child well-being’. As a result of this cross-party consensus, the Child Poverty Act was passed in 2010, committing both current and future governments to take action to eliminate child poverty.

And the momentum went beyond Westminster. In 2003, the End Child Poverty (ECP) Coalition brought together a wide range of non-governmental bodies all committed to eliminating child poverty by 2020. Throughout the country, civil society groups deliver services, mobilise their client groups and lobby decision makers, all with the aim of ending child poverty.

In 2015, the new Conservative government brough forward a Bill to scrap the Child Poverty Act, called the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. You can read more about the Act here. Since 2015, the government's agenda has focused on life chances, rather than poverty.