HM Treasury

Taxation, work and welfare

Child poverty

The Government has a Public Service Agreement target to halve child poverty by 2010 on the way to eradicating child poverty by 2020.

Good progress in tackling child poverty has been made. In 1998/99, there were 3.4 million children (26%) living in relative poverty. By 2007/08 (the latest figures available) this had fallen by 500,000 children to 2.9 million children in relative income poverty.

The Government has consulted extensively with stakeholders on how to measure and tackle child poverty. This has been instrumental in developing the Government’s strategy. In 2004 the Government published the Child Poverty review which examined both the welfare reform and public service changes needed to advance the long-term goal of halving and eradicating child poverty. The Government also published Measuring Child Poverty (DWP website) in 2003 which set out the criteria that the Government would use to assess progress on child poverty.

The Government built on this in Ending child poverty: everybody’s business published alongside Budget 2008, which considered: the causes and consequences of child poverty; the costs associated with childhood experiences of poverty for both individuals and society; the impact of Government action so far; and policy direction for the future.

Since then, the Government has announced it’s intention to enshrine in legislation the commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. The Government consulted on its proposals in Ending Child Poverty: Making it happen published earlier this year. The Child Poverty Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 11 June 2009 further details on this, and the consultation, can be found on the Every Child Matters website (DCSF website).

The Bill is jointly sponsored by HM Treasury, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Work and Pensions. 

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