Church campaigners urge commitment of funds to end child poverty

By staff writers
February 18, 2009

A report published yesterday shows that the Government needs to do more if it is to achieve its goal of eradicating child poverty from the UK by 2020, campaigners have said.

An extra £4.2bn a year will have to be spent on tax credits if the government is to meet its target of halving child poverty, the report warns.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimates that 2.3 million children will be in poverty in 2010, missing the 1.7 million target set in 1999.

Ending child poverty in a changing economy was published on 17 February by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It includes revised projections of the levels of child poverty in the UK by 2020, taking account of the current recession. The overall level of child poverty is predicted to fall, but only by a fraction of the amount needed to meet the Government’s own targets. Rising unemployment will also mean that more children fall into severe poverty.

The report says that the Government needs to invest an additional £4.2 billion per year in benefits and tax credits to achieve its goal.

The Rowntree report suggests that the recession may not increase the number of children living in poverty, but could push many further below the poverty line owing to increased unemployment.

It warns: "Overall, it is possible that recession will bring a net increase in children's hardship even though it does not raise the child poverty total.

"This is likely to raise the cost of tackling child poverty, since it is more difficult to lift children out of severe poverty."

Church Action on Poverty is calling on the Government to keep its promise to end child poverty, and commit the funds required.

Church Action on Poverty’s National Coordinator Niall Cooper said: “Ending child poverty in the UK is an achievable goal, but it needs real commitment from the Government. If we can find hundreds of billions to bail out the banks which caused the economic crisis, surely we can afford a much smaller amount to lift our children out of poverty. It makes economic sense too – ongoing child poverty has enormous social and financial costs.”

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