Church campaigners have repeated their call for an investment of at least £3 billion to provide a targeted investment into the country’s poorest communities.
It comes on the 10th anniversary of the Government’s pledge to end child poverty in a generation.
In their statement, Church Action on Poverty, who are members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, asked the Prime Minister: “Will you keep your promise, Gordon, and improve the lives of millions of UK children living in poverty today?”
“As the recession bites, an investment of at least £3 billion would provide a vital, timely and targeted injection into families in our poorest communities who are hardest hit” the statement said. “Without this £3bn in the forthcoming budget, the Government will be 700,000 children short of its target of halving child poverty by 2010.”
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said today that it should still be possible to achieve that target set by Tony Blair in 1999.
With the Government now committed to enshrining in legislation his promise to eradicate child poverty altogether by 2020, CPAG urged ministers to seize on the "turning point" created by the economic crisis to build a fairer society.
In a report timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Blair's original speech, CPAG said that failure to meet next year's target would "undermine" the prospects for achieving the long-term 2020 goal.
600,000 children have already been lifted out of poverty since 1999, with a further 500,000 expected to follow as a result of current policies. But the report said that still left a shortfall of 700,000 on the 2010 target.
Analysts have estimated that an investment in excess of £3 billion would get the Government back on track to meet its aim.
Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK. It works in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find solutions to poverty, locally, nationally and globally.
More information: www.church-poverty.org.uk