Ending child poverty by 2020 – progress report

Labour governments cut child poverty on a scale and at a pace unmatched by other industrial nations during the period 1998–2010, campaigners have concluded. But they warn that the government’s policies since 2010 risk wiping out all the gains made.

The Child Poverty Action Group report brings together 15 expert contributions, each looking at a different aspect of child poverty. They assess both the record on child poverty up to 2010 and the prospects to 2020 (the target date in law for the elimination of child poverty).

Key points

  • Child poverty was cut by around one million children by 2010.
  • It is not accurate to describe the reduction as just ‘poverty plus a pound’. The extra investment in benefits and tax credits for families with children increased incomes for millions of families in the bottom half of the income distribution, not just those clustered around the poverty line. Child poverty fell, regardless of where precisely the relative poverty line is set.
  • Despite the progress made, the interim target for 2010, set by the Labour government, will have been missed.
  • If the rate of poverty reduction could be sustained, the 2020 target would nonetheless be achieved only seven years later, in 2027.
  • The government’s current policies risk all the gains made. Unless their strategy improves, their legacy threatens to be the worst child poverty record of any government for a generation.

Source: Lindsay Judge et al., Ending Child Poverty by 2020: Progress Made and Lessons Learned, Child Poverty Action Group

Links: Report | Press release | BBC report | Guardian report