Alison Garnham's blog

While the government officially abolishes child poverty, things are getting worse


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If the Government goes ahead with its plans to redefine child poverty then it will be turning its backs on poor children and on the past.

No redefinition can hide the reality that the Government’s child poverty strategy is failing.  It was only a year ago that Iain Duncan Smith was claiming the child poverty targets would be met but last week’s child poverty statistics showed that absolute child poverty has risen by half a million since 2010 and that progress on relative poverty has stalled.

We can do so much better on child poverty


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‘A strong society means moving forward together, no one left behind, fighting relative poverty a central policy goal.’ Well, Child Poverty Action Group would say that, wouldn’t they? In fact, these are the words of David Cameron, less than a decade ago, a day on which he also proclaimed: ‘I want this message to go out loud and clear: the Conservative party recognises, will measure and will act on relative poverty’.

David Cameron's attempts to move the goalposts on poverty are a disaster - but don't take my word for it


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The failure of the Government’s child poverty approach must not be compounded by moving the goalposts.You can't define away poverty - and David Cameron himself has admitted that.

What we didn’t talk about in the election


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We really are living in the age of the permanent campaign. The general election was just weeks ago, but the main parties and political commentators have moved on and are looking at events through the lens of the 2020 election. Before that happens, it’s worth noting something pretty peculiar about the 2015 campaign.

How has the coalition done on child poverty?


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This blog first appeared on The Staggers, on the New Statesman website.

When George Osborne claimed in last month’s Budget to have reduced child poverty, I’m sure mine weren’t the only raised eyebrows. Michael Gove made a similar claim yesterday, that the government has ‘been able to save £21bn in the welfare budget and at the same time reduce inequality and reduce child poverty in this country’. Important analysis published today by the New Policy Institute (NPI) hones in on the subtle flaw in this piece of political alchemy: it isn’t true.

What was missing from the 2015 Budget? Anything to do with child poverty


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'This was a "see no poverty, hear no poverty" budget from a government in denial.

The Chancellor made claim to a truly national recovery throughout his speech but this is a ‘See no poverty, Hear no poverty’ Budget which continues to leave children and the low paid behind.

The limits of Universal Credit


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This article originally appeared in the Bright Blue and the Fabian's publication A future without poverty.

Since 2010 the Government has overseen an ambitious, large-scale programme of income redistribution.

The road to the food bank is paved by failures in the benefit system

Food banks have become a political football. Some say demand is driven by supply: if you build it, they will come. Others point to the rising cost of living, especially food price inflation, or benefit cuts as the key drivers of demand (or need).

9 reasons to protect child benefit

"I'm not going to flannel you, I'm going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn't change child benefit, I wouldn't means-test it, I don't think that is a good idea."

So said
David Cameron in March 2010. But the Prime Minister is being urged to drop this read-my-lips pledge when his party draws up its manifesto in the coming months. 

According to reports today the think tank Policy Exchange is calling for child benefit to be tapered away as families have more children. Others are urging him on to go even further. 

New Child Poverty Strategy Is Last Chance for Coalition to Show It's Serious About Ending Child Poverty

The coalition government has repeatedly embraced its legal commitment to end child poverty by 2020. As part of this, it needs to publish a second national Child Poverty Strategy (CPS) by early April. The delays in getting out a draft - initially expected before Christmas, but now expected later this week - have given rise to feverish political speculation. But it's worth at this point taking a step back to think about the context in which the strategy is being launched - and why it matters.