Child poverty targets to be scrapped

Written by Tom Freeman on 2 July 2015 in News

UK Government to replace system of measuring child poverty with broader approach

The UK Government is to introduce a new method of measuring childhood poverty, scrapping targets introduced in 2010 to eliminate it by 2020.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith said the current measure, which is defined as below 60 per cent of median income, was flawed.

The UK Government will introduce legislation to introduce new measures focused on levels of work within a family and improvements in education attainment, it has been announced.


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“Eradicating child poverty is an absolute priority for this government, and I have consistently argued that it is not enough to tackle the symptoms without also tackling the underlying causes,” said Smith.

Alan Milburn, Chair of the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission welcomed a more rounded way of measuring poverty, taking account of more causal risk factors, but warned the Government must still set clear targets for tackling the issue.

“Abolishing the legal targets doesn’t make the issue of child poverty go away. It remains a deep scar in the fabric of our nation. The key issue is less how child poverty is measured and more how it is tackled. Far more needs to be done to make sure that the poorest families share in the proceeds of economic growth,” he said.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said the plan was “unacceptable” and a “disgraceful dereliction of responsibilities from the Tories”.

Labour’s Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray said: “The Tories are trying to make child poverty go away by pretending that if you don't measure it, it doesn't exist.”

Targets help hold governments to account he said.

“Ministers from both the UK and Scottish Governments should be tackling low pay, boosting productivity and raising skill levels to cut child poverty.”

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