Barnardo’s chief executive Martin Narey today criticised the Conservatives for failing to commit to halving child poverty by 2010.
Narey told a Conservative Party conference fringe event that while Labour and the Liberal Democrats had signed up to the pledge, the Tories had merely aspired to it. “That is a mealy-mouthed phrase, which really has no place in politics,” he said.
But shadow charities minister Greg Clark defended the move, saying the party would not be “press-ganged” into it when it could be elected next year.
Inheritance tax proposals attacked
He also defended the party against criticisms by Narey that it could not be “taken seriously” over its inheritance tax policies, under which estates worth less than £1m would be exempted, up from £312,000 currently.
Narey said it was wrong that people could inherit vast sums of money without having to pay anything to the Treasury. But Clark hit back saying that assets could be an important protection for people against falling into debt.
Clark said Labour’s poverty policies had “run out of steam,” adding that its approach had been too top-down, while the Conservatives instead planned to empower poor communities to help themselves.
He also said that the voluntary sector would be important under a future Tory regime and would be given financial rewards beyond covering their own costs is they were successful.
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