End Child Poverty: Pre-budget report is ‘missed opportunity’

Today’s pre-budget report has failed to put the government on track to hit its target of halving child poverty from 1998-99 to 2010-11, campaigners have warned.

The Child Poverty Action Group and End Child Poverty described the pre-budget report as a ‘missed opportunity’.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced a number of measures to help low-income families including:-

  • Bringing forward increases in child benefit from April 2009 to January 2009. This will see weekly child benefit for oldest children rise from £18.80 to £20, and for younger children, from £12.55 to £13.20.
  • Bringing forward an increase in the child element of the child tax credit – currently £2,085 – to £2,235 a year from April 2010 to April 2009.
  • Making permanent a £600 increase in tax allowances for basic rate taxpayers, introduced this year, which will increase by £130 in April next year. 

However, CPAG chief executive Kate Green said bringing forward existing measures would not help hit the 2010 target, which the charity has estimated would require an extra £3bn in benefits and tax credits a year to be invested.

She added: “The promise is achievable, yet today’s report was a missed opportunity and significant new investment in next year’s Budget is essential.”

End Child Poverty director Hilary Fisher said “time is running out” to meet the 2010 target and called for a redoubling of efforts.

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