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by Tom Freeman
20 October 2014
“New agenda” needed on poverty, warns commission

“New agenda” needed on poverty, warns commission

Britain is at risk of becoming “permanently divided” because of increasing child poverty, according to a new report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (SMCP).

“A decade of rising absolute poverty is unprecedented since records began in the 1960s,” the Report warns, adding the year 2020 could mark “a watershed between an era in which for decades there have been rising living standards shared by all and a future era where rising living standards by-pass the poorest in society.”

SMCP chair and former Labour minister Alan Milburn condemned all three main Westminster parties for failing to improve social mobility and low pay. “The circumstances are so different, the challenges are so great that the old ways of thinking and acting that have dominated public-policy making for decades will simply not pass muster. What worked in the past will not serve as an adequate guide for the future. A new agenda is needed,” he said.

The report found absolute child poverty increased by 300,000 between 2010-11 and 2012-13.

There is no way the government can meet the statutory target to eradicate child poverty by 2020, according to the report, which calls on the next government to commit to a new timescale for achieving reformed targets. It finds no political party is being honest about the impact of planned spending cuts or has sufficiently ambitious plans to tackle entrenched levels of low pay.

Other recommendations include abolition of unpaid internships, higher pay for the best teachers to go to the most challenging schools and half of all large workplaces to offer quality apprenticeships.

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