The government has missed its first target on child poverty that aimed to reduce it by one quarter, new figures unveiled by work and pensions secretary John Hutton today show.
The prime minister vowed to cut numbers of children living in poverty from 4.1 million to 3.1 million by 2005.
The new figures show 700,000 fewer children now in poverty, a shortfall of 300,000.
“We have not quite achieved our first target on child poverty – but we remain absolutely committed to the goal the prime minister set back in 1999 of eradicating child poverty within a generation,” said Hutton.
Levels of child poverty in Britain are falling faster than in any other European country, he added.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s is “extremely disappointed” and said the government’s first milestone “should have been the easiest one to achieve as it was aiming to get the least poorest children out of poverty.”