New UK child poverty strategy ‘ignores impact of government’s welfare reforms’, says CPAG

29 June 2014

The Child Poverty Action Group has accused the government of ignoring the impact of its welfare reforms in drawing up its new child poverty strategy.

Launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the new strategy has identified supporting families into work, improving living standards and raising educational attainment as the fundamental ways to achieve the long-term goal of ending child poverty by 2020.

But the CPAG’s chief executive Alison Garnham said the strategy lacked “clear actions, milestones and progress measures” and “ignored” projections suggesting child poverty would see the steepest rise in a generation in the coming years.

Garnham said: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to ending child poverty by 2020 but today’s strategy isn’t good news for a generation of children that needs the government to invest in their childhoods and life chances. The strategy does not add up to being a plan to end child poverty. It ignores independent projections which suggest the UKis heading for the steepest rise in child poverty for a generation. Crucially, it fails to set out clear actions, milestones and progress measures that would set child poverty on a downward trend.

“Worryingly, half of those who responded to the government’s strategy consultation raised concerns about the impact of welfare reform on low income families. Rather than take these views on board, the government looks set to continue with policies that experts show are impoverishing families across the UK.”

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith disagreed, saying: “This strategy outlines our commitment to tackling the root causes of poverty and delivering lasting change that makes a real difference to children’s life chances.”