The Child Poverty Action Group has called on the six Labour deputy leadership candidates to back a set of policies it claims will meet the government’s targets of halving child poverty by 2010 and eliminating it by 2020 today.
In a letter to the candidates, CPAG chief executive Kate Green called on each of the candidates to back the £3.8bn of investment experts believe is necessary to give the government a 50:50 chance of meeting the 2010 target.
Latest government figures showed an increase in child poverty from 2004-5 to 2005-6, prompting fears that the intermediate target would not be met and that the government’s commitment to the goal had cooled.
Green called on the six to give a “clear assurance” that as deputy leader they would work to ensure the government retains the target and “shows the political leadership needed to ensure that it is a headline priority”.
The deputy leadership is being contested by international development secretary Hilary Benn, party chair Hazel Blears, backbencher Jon Cruddas, Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, justice minister Harriet Harman and education secretary Alan Johnson.
In her letter, Green also called on the candidates to ensure the government did more to reduce wealth and income inequality, saying this was “fundamental”, given widespread low pay.