Thursday, May 07, 2009

Anticipating a new child poverty report in the UK

New child poverty figures are about to be released in the UK. The government there has a goal of halving child poverty by 2010, but many anti-poverty groups fear that the new figures will show that the government is not doing enough.

From IC Scotland, we look at the buildup to the poverty report release.

Official figures on poverty levels in the UK are due to be published.

They come amid growing fears that the Government is set to miss its target to halve the number of children being brought up in financial hardship.

Campaigners are concerned the statistics will show that the chances of achieving the goal of halving child poverty by 2010-11 are looking increasingly remote.

The 2010-11 milestone was originally set in 1999 by then Prime Minister Tony Blair - when 3.4 million children were defined as living in poverty. It was set as an interim target on the way to eradicating child poverty altogether by 2020.

Since then ministers say that they have succeeded in lifting 600,000 children out of poverty, while a further 500,000 will be helped by measures that have been put in place since 2007.

However that still leaves a further 600,000 if the 2010-11 target is to be met.

In its report on the Budget, the Commons Treasury Committee complained of the lack of any new measures to tackle child poverty and it warned that the Government was set to miss its target by a "significant margin".

Save the Children also expressed concern that the latest figures could show little improvement, or even a worsening of the situation.

The charity urged the Government not to abandon the 2010-11 target in the face of the recession.

"Our sense is that the figures will be as bad or even slightly worse this year. If that is the case, that puts a question mark over the 2010-11 target which is deeply worrying for us," said Save the Children spokesman Dominic Nutt.

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