Leading parties united in letting down children in poverty

26 March 2014

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'Today’s cross-party support for capping welfare is a betrayal of their commitment to end child poverty.

“It risks pushing more children into poverty by tying government’s hands, making it harder to make sure the most vulnerable families and children get the support they need to cope with rocketing rents, rising childcare costs and soaring fuel prices.

'Child poverty is rising. Despite this, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith insisted that the government is on track to meet its commitment to end child poverty by 2020. This simply doesn’t add up. Up-to-date figures show 300,000 more children are in poverty today than when the government came to power. Independent experts estimate that by 2020, 800,000 more children will be living in poverty if the government continues with its current policies.

'Capping welfare risks derailing all three parties’ commitment to end child poverty and will harm the children whose futures they are supposed to protect.'

Ends

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Notes to editors:

  • 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty today.
  • Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
  • By 2020, an estimated three quarters of a million more children will be living in poverty than today according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Even by the government’s own admission the numbers of children in poverty are due to rise. Capping benefit and tax credit annual increases at 1% alone will push 200,000 more children into poverty.
  • The Children’s Society is supporting the first-ever Children’s Commission on Poverty. On 21 February, 10 of the young commissioners met government officials from the Child Poverty Unit to raise their concerns over child poverty in the UK and action they want taken. The commissioners want the government to draw on children’s actual experience – and not just the statistics -- when developing measures to tackle child poverty. The Children’s Commission on Poverty is being supported by The Children’s Society and led by a panel of 16 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19. They are leading an 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK. It provides a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.