27 February 2014

Government provides no credible plan to end child poverty, say Churches

  • 27% of Britain's children already live in poverty

Three major British Churches have attacked the Government's Child Poverty Strategy, saying that it fails to provide a credible plan to tackle child poverty.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, Methodist and United Reformed Churches welcome the Government's pledge to eradicate child poverty by 2020, but argue that the strategy fails to provide a credible plan to achieve this aim.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies predicts that by 2020 UK child poverty will have increased from 3.5 million to 4.7 million, and that the major driver behind this increase will be the tax and welfare changes introduced since 2010.

"Child poverty is set to increase for the rest of the decade and beyond and this strategy will not stop this," said Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser and author of  The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty, a report dispelling six common myths about poverty. "Perversely the strategy trumpets measures that will actually increase child poverty. The Benefit Cap and the Bedroom Tax are mentioned as poverty reduction strategies yet we know that already both measures are driving families into poverty.

"By 2020 one in three of our children is set to live in poverty. But rather than addressing this fundamental problem, the strategy restates old policies - some positive, some negative, but none substantial enough to grasp the seriousness of the challenge ahead. For families which can't afford to heat their homes, or feed and clothe their children adequately, this strategy is a wasted opportunity.

"Jesus spoke of the preciousness of each and every child. The nation's commitment to eradicating child poverty is a beacon of hope on the political landscape. This strategy fails to turn that hope into a credible reality. A childhood spent in poverty is a sad and terrible failure of our society to prioritise those most vulnerable."


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