A consultation is being launched highlighting action the government is taking to tackle child poverty.
A consultation is being launched today (27 February 2014) highlighting action the government is taking to tackle child poverty, and to seek views on further action needed from government, the business community and the third sector.
As part of the government’s long-term plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and a fairer society, we are committed to making work pay and improving the lives of some of the poorest families in our community.
Recent analysis reveals that children are 3 times as likely to be in poverty in a workless family and there are now fewer children living in workless households than at any time since records began, having fallen by 274,000 since 2010.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said:
At the heart of our welfare reforms is the commitment to transform the lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged in our society. Central to our approach is the conviction that it is not enough only to tackle the symptoms of poverty without also tackling the underlying causes.
Today, with the launch of our consultation on the new child poverty strategy, we restate our commitment to tackling poverty at its source – be it worklessness, family breakdown, educational failure, addiction, or debt. These are the problems that blight the lives of vulnerable families and the strategy draws together the action we are taking on all these fronts.
The previous government’s target to halve child poverty by 2010 was not achieved. The government is committed to ending child poverty in the UK by 2020 and the draft child poverty strategy sets out the government’s commitment to tackle poverty at its source.
Actions the government is taking to tackle worklessness, poor educational attainment and poverty from 2014/17 include:
- reforming the welfare system through Universal Credit, which will lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty, and cover 70% of childcare costs every hour worked – we are investing an additional £200 million, equivalent to covering 85% of childcare costs for those on Universal Credit who are working and paying Income Tax
- increasing our investment in the Pupil Premium, which will be worth £2.5 billion by 2014/15, reforming school accountability so that funding is directed effectively and introducing targeted support through summer schools
- providing free school meals for all infant school children from September 2014, which will benefit an additional 100,000 poor children
- improving teacher quality by raising qualification requirements, introducing rigorous new Teacher’s Standards, investing in Teach First and incentivising and rewarding high performing teachers by linking pay to performance
- funding 15 hours of free early education places a week for all 3 and 4 year olds and extending 15 hours of free education and care a week to 260,000 2 year olds from low income families
- cutting tax for 25 million people by increasing the personal tax allowance and cutting income tax for those on the minimum wage by almost 2 thirds
- reducing water costs by capping water bills of low income families with 3 or more children on a water meter and promoting social tariffs that provide cheaper costs for low-income families
- reducing fuel costs by reducing the typical energy bill next year by around £50 on average – we are also giving some low-income families an extra £135 off their bills each year through extending the Warm Home Discount to 2015/16, and are reducing the amount of fuel they need to pay for by making their homes more energy efficient
- reducing food costs for low income families through free school meals for all infant school pupils, benefiting an additional 100,000 poor children, Healthy Start Vouchers for young children, breakfast clubs in deprived areas and free fruit and vegetables at school for primary school children
- reviewing the National Minimum Wage based on the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission
- reducing costs of living, for example by reducing the typical energy bill next year by around £50 on average and extending the Warm Home Discount to 2015/16
- tackling rising housing costs by investing £11.5 billion to get Britain building more homes in the 4 years to 2015, and spending a further £5.1 billion from 2015-2018
- increasing access to affordable credit through expanding credit unions and cracking down on pay day lending (including by imposing a cap on the cost of credit)
The consultation on the draft strategy will run until 22 May 2014, and we will publish the final strategy once responses have been considered.
Relative poverty is the most commonly used poverty line – 60% of median income.
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