Posted: 01 March 2013

Government confirms 'no going back' on low income measures of child poverty

David Laws MP confirmed this week that 'there can be no question of going back on the pledges of the past to reduce child poverty as measured by low income'.

He was speaking about the government’s consultation on developing better measures of child poverty, which closed just over a week ago.

Alongside his commitment to maintaining the existing child poverty measures, the minister emphasised that the government feels it is important to develop a more holistic understanding of child poverty. In particular, the importance of better understanding and measurement of the underlying drivers of child poverty, such as access to a good education. These are not currently captured within the key targets set out in the Child Poverty Act.

It is great to hear the minister making this commitment to continuing to recognise the importance of low income in understanding child poverty, as well as setting out his commitment to acting on the underlying causes of child poverty, not just on the symptoms. 

In our response to the government’s consultation on measuring child poverty, we similarly emphasised the importance of increasing understanding of both child poverty and separately measuring the success of action on the underlying drivers of child poverty.

In his speech, David Laws focused on the importance of access to a quality education. Poor education is clearly a key cause of children growing up to live in poverty. For example, fewer than half of people with no qualifications are in work, and unemployment rates for people with no qualifications are 18%, compared to 4.2% for people with a degree or an equivalent.

The Child Poverty Unit will now be reviewing the 250 responses to its Better Measures of Child Poverty consultation, and will be reporting on this in the summer.

Acting on the forces that lie at the root of child poverty iscrucial to breaking the cycle and tackling it once and for all.


By Sam Royston - Policy team

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