Response to Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission

October 20, 2014

Responding today to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s recommendation that the legally binding target to end child poverty by 2020 needs to be revised given the failure to make progress, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said:

“We have failed a generation of children who are growing up poor but we will fail them a second time if we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the 2020 targets will now be met.

“Child poverty is set to rise, not fall, largely as a result of real term cuts to tax credits and benefits. Independent projections show that there will be nearly a million more poor children in the UK by 2020 as a result of policies introduced in recent years.

“We must not accept that failing to meet the targets by 2020 means they can never be achieved. With the right policies, the right time-frame, and the right level of political will we can eradicate child poverty in the UK just as other countries have.

“If the clock is reset on the targets, there must be no let up. A new timeframe would give politicians of all parties a chance to take real action on poverty. This means protecting children’s benefits, ensuring work always pays, and supporting families with costs such as childcare and housing. But there can be no excuse for getting it wrong again.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • The Child Poverty Act 2010 commits all governments to four child poverty targets (i) to reduce relative child poverty to 10 per cent by 2020 (ii) to reduce absolute child poverty to 5 per cent by 2020 (iii) to reduce a combined measure of relative child poverty and material deprivation to 5 per cent by 2020 (iv) to reduce persistent child poverty to an unspecified level by 2020. The CPA was passed in 2010 with broad cross-party support.
  • Official child poverty data lags by two years. However, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies projects both current and 2020 child poverty rates as follows:

Projected child poverty rates 2014-2020
2014/15 2020/21
Relative child poverty rate 20.1% 22.5%
Absolute child poverty rate 25.2% 27.5%
Source: http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn144.pdf

  • EU data shows that just in 2012 and 2013, four European states had achieved relative child poverty rates of below 10 per cent (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway). See data here.
  • 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.