Proposals to change the measure of child
poverty have been announced by the government after it failed to
fulfil its pledge to reduce the figure by a million in its first
term (see news analysis, page 20, 25 April).
Children are considered to be living in
poverty if they are in households with incomes below 60 per cent of
the median average after housing costs. Alternative methods of
tracking the progress in tackling child poverty were proposed in a
consultation document launched by Alistair Darling, the secretary
of state for work and pensions, last week.
“The challenge is to find the right balance
between the desire for clarity, which argues for one headline
indicator; and comprehensiveness, which argues for a broad range of
indicators,” he said. There are four options.
Option one: continuing the headline indicators
of low income, “worklessness”, educational attainment, health
inequalities and housing standards.
Option two: a child poverty index created by
weighting each of the above individual indicators.
Option three: calculated by combining relative
low income and material deprivation.
Option four: a core set of low income and
“consistent poverty” indicators.
Meanwhile, 90 per cent of the population would
be willing to help fight child poverty, if asked by a charity,
according to new research.
A Mori poll of 2,095 adults for Save the
Children Week found that one in five would take an active part in a
campaign, give their time or money, sign a petition or lobby their