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Child poverty: “the scar on Britain’s soul”

The release today of the analysis of the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) for 2007/08 from the Department for Work and Pensions showed that there has been little movement on the number of children coming out of poverty. This is a clear indication that the government will fall well short of its target to halve the number of children living in poverty by 2010. 

At the HBAI briefing today the Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP acknowledged that without the government’s interventions a further 2.1 million children would be in poverty today.  But the government will find it difficult to meet the 2010 target; instead they are renewing their commitment to the 2020 target to eradicate child poverty in the UK.

What hasn’t been reported or picked up by the media is that far from the figures being unchanged, there has been a rise of 200,000 children in low income and material deprivation bringing the total to 2.2 million children. This represents a rise of 0.2 million since 2006/07 due to the increase in the cost of living which includes food and heating.

It’s outrageous that children in low income families continue to miss out on basic necessities. We’ve long been saying that parents in low income families often have to choose between eating and heating. These figures show that this continues to be the case for too many children in the UK.

In 2001 Gordon Brown referred to child poverty as a ‘scar on Britain’s soul’. This scar is taking a very long time to heal.

We need more people to stand up and say they think child poverty is a scandal. We need you to help us end child poverty in the UK.

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