Local authorities are being invited to showcase projects which have successfully encouraged parents to take up tax credits and benefits.
The government’s Take up Taskforce, which was created after the pre-budget report last November, has called on authorities to submit case studies by 20 February.
Child poverty target concerns
The move was welcomed by the Child Poverty Action Group. Spokesperson Tim Nichols said the group supported any action which encouraged good practice and got people above the poverty line.
But he added that campaigners were concerned the government would miss its target to halve the number of British children in poverty by 2010-11.
Nichols said recorded levels of child poverty had increased in 2005-6 and 2006-7, when it reached 2.9m, as a result of reduced government budgets. But he said the target, which will require numbers in child poverty falling to 1.7m by 2010-11, was “still achievable in a recession”.
During his pre-budget speech in November, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced that increases in public spending would slow from 2.1% a year from 2008-11 to 1.2% a year in real terms from 2011-14.
The announcement came only months after Gordon Brown vowed to enshrine the government’s target to eliminate child poverty by 2020 into legislation, meaning that campaigners could take the government to court if it failed to meet it.