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Time for a credible plan to end child poverty

Last week’s report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that 800,000 more children will be plunged into poverty between now and 2020 unless the government decides to introduce new policies over and above those already planned.

The coalition has pledged to end child poverty by 2020 but this report shows the huge gap between rhetoric and reality.   

Some commentators have suggested that the targets are too difficult or unrealistic but it would be a huge mistake to give up now.

Life chances

Evidence shows children from low income backgrounds are more likely to do badly at school, suffer from ill health, have limited life chances, grow up to be poor adults and die young.

It cannot be right that children’s lives and experiences are so heavily influenced by poverty. Governments can dramatically reduce child poverty as long as they have the right policies and strong commitment.

There is still time to meet the targets. As the IFS conclude, the coalition should investigate which specific policy proposals are required to reduce child poverty and then set out how and when it intends to implement these.

Still time

The longer government waits to set out a credible plan to end child poverty the more difficult it will be to meet the 2020 target.

Poverty, both absolute and relative, is a real, lived experience which limits the chances of children living a decent life now and in the future.

The figures do not mark the moment we give up. They are a rallying call for all those who believe in the cause to continue fighting for an end to poverty.

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