Government failing poorest children

Save the Children today called for the government to adopt a strategy to address the needs of the poorest children in the UK.

The charity applauded the government’s commitment to eliminating child poverty but highlighted that it had no strategy to help the most vulnerable.

It warned that until this was addressed, the government would fail to meet its pledge of ending child poverty by 2020.

“Save the Children believes the needs of children who live in both severe and persistent poverty must be urgently addressed so they can afford both the necessities and benefit from the same opportunities to reach their potential as their peers,” the report says.

Key findings included:-

• Poverty is more persistent among families with younger children

• Children in large families face a higher risk of severe and persistent poverty

• The UK has a much higher proportion of young people aged 16 to 19 living in severe poverty than other European countries.

The report finds that poorest families are unable to afford essentials such as new clothes and are less likely to eat fish or meat every other day.

Families also find themselves getting into debt to afford simple things like school trips.

The charity believes the government should establish an independent minimum income commission by the end of 2010 with responsibility for recommending a minimum income standard below which no family should fall.

It calls for the government to make the benefits system work for the most vulnerable families when they experience sudden changes in their circumstances.

Save the Children also urges the government to do more to assist young families in poverty and tackle the needs of young people  to prevent them falling into poverty.

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