The Child Poverty Action Group today launched a new manifesto to mark the 10th anniversary of the government’s pledge to end child poverty, offering “ten steps” to meet the target.
While 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty in a decade, the government looks set to miss its target to halve child poverty by 2010. The CPAG report criticises the slow progress in achieving this goal and says some policy has actively undermined progress.
Kate Green, CPAG chief executive, said: “There are 600,000 fewer children in poverty than ten years ago, which is good news, but we must go further and faster. A change to our political culture that puts family security and children’s wellbeing at the heart of all policy is needed.
“Immediate steps are needed to help struggling families and put children first. Government must urgently protect jobs, review a welfare reform policy on the verge of collapse and channel a major fiscal stimulus through poor families.”
CPAG’s manifesto sets out the following steps for the government to meet its 20-year goal of eradicating child poverty by 2020:-
- Protect jobs as parental job loss leads to to child poverty.
- Increase benefits and tax credits to increase minimum incomes.
- Move away from means-testing and invest in universal benefits, such as child benefit.
- Remove barriers to work, such as unsuitable and expensive childcare, low skills and discrimination by employers.
- Stop in-work poverty – more than half of poor children have a parent in paid work.
- Put in place a strategy to improve childcare.
- Improve education for children on low incomes by tackling barriers such as selection.
- Ensure public services meet the needs of poorer communities to reduce health and educational inequalities.
- End poverty premiums in taxes and services. Poor families pay more for basic goods, utilities and services. Low-income families pay a greater proportion of gross income in taxes than others.
- Ensure a decent home for every family through more decent and affordable housing.