British Govt To Scrap Child Poverty Target Before Tax Credit Cuts

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Existing measures and targets in the Child Poverty Act will be replaced with a new duty to report on worklessness and educational attainment.

Duncan Smith

The British government has announced it is going to scrap measures aimed at eradicating child poverty before the cut in tax credits.

The work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced the introduction of a ‘new’ and ‘strengthened’ approach to measuring child poverty.

The downgrading of the existing target comes just before a big cut in tax credits expected in the 8 July budget as part of a drive to cut the welfare budget.

The announcement of the new measures comes days after official statistics showed that child poverty in the UK was at its lowest level since the mid-1980s.

Child Poverty Action Group has voiced voiced concerns, saying: “The statement isn’t about strengthening efforts to end child poverty, but about burying the failure of the government’s child poverty approach. And with more cuts coming down the line, child poverty is set to rise.”

Press TV reports:

The target to eradicate child poverty by 2020 was set by the government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and it was based on the percentage of households with below average income.

According to Duncan Smith, the measures by the Blair government were poor. He argues that families can fall or go above the relative poverty line for reasons that have little to do with their material wealth.“We know in households with unstable relationships, where debt and addiction destabilize families, where parents lack employment skills, where children just aren’t ready to start school, these children don’t have the same chances in life as others”.

The long-expected change came after publication of statistics that revealed no fall in poverty level with four UK children’s commissioners joined forces to warn that child poverty remains “unacceptably high” and urged the government to refrain from cuts that could push more kids into poverty.

Meanwhile, some Labour MPs and charities have expressed concern over the new measure saying the child poverty may go up with more credit cuts coming down the line. Stephen Timms MP condemned the plan as the “obituary notice of compassionate conservatism”.

Niamh Harris
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