Government ‘set to miss’ child poverty target without tax credit rise

The government is unlikely to meet its first target for reducing
child poverty unless tax credits for children are increased from
next April, according to the Child Poverty Action Group,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The charity is launching a campaign called ‘Make it a fiver
Gordon!’ to call on Chancellor Gordon Brown to give an extra
£5 a week for each child living in low-income families from
next April.

Martin Barnes, director of the CPAG, said: “The Chancellor
said in this year’s Budget that he wanted to make faster progress
in tackling child poverty, but without a significant increase in
the child tax credit the first milestone target for reducing child
poverty will almost certainly be missed.”

The prime minister pledged in 1999 to eradicate child poverty
within 20 years, and the government’s first target is to
reduce the number of children living in poverty by a quarter by the
end of 2004-5.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts that an increase of
between £3 and £5 a week in the new child tax credit may
be needed to ensure the target is met.

The rate of the child tax credit from April next year should be
announced in the Chancellor’s pre-Budget statement in the

The Department for Work and Pensions has been consulting on new
long-term headline measures of child poverty, and the conclusions
are expected to be published later this year.

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