As the consultation on the government’s latest three-year child poverty consultation closes, it seeks to articulate the policies it sees as reducing poverty, even as it prevaricates over how to define it.
The Child Poverty Act 2010 requires the government to produce a strategy every three years, setting out the action it plans to take to end child poverty in the UK. Alongside this, the Act established an independent Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission.
Making the case for a decent welfare state has become difficult. Much of the media takes every opportunity to cry ‘scrounger’. Each case of fraud gets extensive coverage. It has become a hot party political issue.
During the recent economic downturn, we have seen public attitudes towards benefit recipients harden. But are attitudes towards child poverty behaving in a similar manner or is the public becoming more sympathetic?
What do the benefit cap, tougher conditionality for claimants and means testing child benefit all have in common? They all hit families with children hard. And they will all drive up child poverty in the next five years and beyond.