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'sChild Poverty Strategy, saying that it fails to provide a credibleplan to tackle child poverty.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, Methodist and UnitedReformed Churches welcome the Government's pledge to eradicatechild poverty by 2020, but argue that the strategy fails to providea credible plan to achieve this aim.

The Instituteof Fiscal Studies predicts that by 2020 UK child povertywill have increased from 3.5 million to 4.7 million, and that themajor driver behind this increase will be the tax and welfarechanges introduced since 2010.

"Child poverty is set to increase for the rest of the decade andbeyond 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 aboutpoverty, a report dispelling six common myths about poverty."Perversely the strategy trumpets measures that will actuallyincrease child poverty. The Benefit Cap and the Bedroom Tax arementioned as poverty reduction strategies yet we know that alreadyboth 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 strategyrestates old policies - some positive, some negative, but nonesubstantial enough to grasp the seriousness of the challenge ahead.For families which can't afford to heat their homes, or feed andclothe their children adequately, this strategy is a wastedopportunity.

"Jesus spoke of the preciousness of each and every child. Thenation's commitment to eradicating child poverty is a beacon ofhope on the political landscape. This strategy fails to turn thathope into a credible reality. A childhood spent in poverty is a sadand terrible failure of our society to prioritise those mostvulnerable."