Slow progress in meeting targets

The government has failed to make any progress in at least 10 of
its 55 anti-poverty indicators since they were introduced four
years ago.

The government’s fifth annual poverty report, published last week,
finds that there is insufficient data to check whether improvements
have been made against a further 12 indicators.

The indicators measure progress in meeting the government’s
long-term goals of tackling poverty and its sources. These include
eradicating child poverty in a generation and ensuring that older
people can live secure and fulfilling lives.

The Department for Work and Pensions report shows there has been
progress in only 12 of the 20 indicators set to monitor children
and young people living in poverty, and in only six of the 11
indicators monitoring older people.

Paul Cann, director of policy at older people’s charity Help the
Aged, said: “Despite the government’s strenuous efforts and
substantial public spending, pensioner poverty remains a reality
for many.”

The charity said the latest figures showed that, between 1998 and
2001, 18 per cent of pensioners lived in persistent poverty, while
the proportion living on a persistently low income had remained
between 16 and 18 per cent for more than 10 years.

Launching the report, Opportunity for All, work and
pensions secretary Andrew Smith said: “We have made great strides,
but we realise that there is more that must be done. Poverty and
social exclusion are deep-rooted problems that take time and effort
to tackle.”

– Opportunity for All from

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