Institute of Fiscal Studies calls for more money to hit child poverty reduction targets

Social policy experts have said that the government risks missing its target of halving child poverty by 2010-11 by delaying investing in an extra £4bn worth of tax credits and benefits.

In a paper today, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the government would miss the target by 800,000 if it kept taxation and benefit levels constant until 2010-11.

This followed yesterday’s news that child poverty had increased last year by 100,000 to 2.8m.

The IFS accepted the government’s estimate that measures in last week’s Budget would lift a further 200,000 children out of poverty. But it said the government would need to invest an extra £4bn to have a 50:50 chance of meeting the 2010-11 target.

However, pledging this sum in October’s comprehensive spending review would mean a tight settlement for other public services, including social care and the NHS.

The IFS said: “A more plausible scenario is that the government delays earmarking the resources needed for meeting its child poverty targets to future years, hoping, perhaps, for buoyant tax revenues or under-spending in other areas of government. Such a policy, though, increases the risk that either the child poverty target will be missed or that new tax-raising measures will be needed in future Budgets.”

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