Child poverty target attacked by IPPR director

The target for eliminating child poverty by 2020, set by the previous Labour government, has been criticised as 'technocratic', over-centralised and unaffordable by Nick Pearce, director of the influential Institute for Public Policy Research think tank.

Pearce said Labour's attempt to end child poverty had been so expensive that 'it was running out of road even before 2008, never mind now'. He added: 'At the same time, [Labour's] highly centralised, even technocratic approach to tackling child poverty failed to speak to people's everyday concerns about childhood, not least those officially labelled as 'poor'. As a result, Labour struggled to secure widespread public support for its ambitions or mobilise families and communities behind them. Contrast this to the popular attachment generated for the newly created children's centres'.

Responding in New Statesman magazine, Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group said: 'Most would agree that a child poverty strategy that relies solely on benefits to prop up families' incomes is neither effective nor sustainable. But equally, a strategy that regards children's centres and expanded childcare as the only answer to the child poverty problem is also likely to be ineffectual. The UK and the international evidence suggests that choosing services over benefits is a false choice and a progressive dead end... Nordic countries all provide children's benefits at broadly the same level as the UK and also provide other, more generous, benefits to families. The difference between us and them is that they prioritise investment in universal childcare alongside income support rather than simply trading one off against the other'.

SourceThe Guardian, 13 May 2013
Links: Guardian article | Guardian report | New Statesman report | Left Foot Forward blog post (1) | Left Foot Forward blog post (2)

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Publication date: 
May 13 2013