We believe that it is possible and indeed essential to eradicate child poverty. The unprecedented step, in 2000, of a government target to eradicate child poverty was a landmark commitment and we are supportive of Government proposals to enshrine this commitment in law.
We believe child poverty is not inevitable. Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark have levels of child poverty at around 8 and 10%.
Recent statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show that there has been an increase in the numbers of children living in poverty.
It is not inevitable that a rich country such as ours should have such high levels of child poverty. Government policies have a big effect on child poverty. UNICEF found that in every country that devotes 10 per cent or more of its gross domestic product to income redistribution less than 10 per cent of the population lives in poverty. But at 5 per cent the proportion in poverty rises to 15 per cent.
The Children's Society is a founding member of the End Child Poverty Campaign and as such is committed to supporting the Government target of eradicating child poverty by 2020 and to halving it by 2010. In order to meet the 2010 goal, there needs to be significant Government investment. The 2009 Budget is the last realistic opportunity to meet the 2010 target and we estimate that there is a financial requirement of £3 billion in order to halve the number of children in poverty.