The Prime Minister’s reaffirmation of his commitment to eradicate
child poverty within a generation, made last week in a speech in
Hackney, east London, has been welcomed by charities.
But Martin Barnes, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, said
urgent action was still needed to plug holes in the current safety
net for poor families.
“Last year, a committee of MPs called for urgent reform to the
social fund, which is supposed to help the poorest families with
essential items and emergencies. Nearly 18 months later we are
still waiting for action,” he said.
In addition, delays in introducing the new child support scheme,
announced in the spending review, meant that the poorest families
were losing up to £10 a week in extra support, he said.
The Prime Minister’s speech marked the publication of the
government’s annual poverty report, Opportunity for All,
which finds that 1.4 million children have been taken out of
absolute poverty since 1997 and a further 500,000 lifted from
Andrew Smith, secretary of state at the Department for Work and
Pensions, said the government was on course to meet its target to
reduce by a quarter the number of children in poor households by
– Opportunity for All can be found at www.dwp.gov.uk