Job prospects for parents must improve to tackle child poverty

The government must move away from an employment support system where parents must take any job going if it wants to end child poverty, its adviser on the subject said yesterday.

In a report, Lisa Harker said it needed to give parents the support to progress in work, given that half of all children in poverty have at least one parent in work.

Harker also called for more family-friendly support from Jobcentre Plus to help parents juggle childcare and work, possibly through a New Deal for Parents, defining a “core offer” of support.

However, she said child poverty would not be defeated without “far greater changes to the distribution of wealth, earnings and opportunities in society”.

Harker, who previously worked for the Child Poverty Action Group, was recruited by the Department of Work and Pensions in June to advise it on meeting its targets to halve child poverty by 2010 and end it by 2020.

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