Iain Duncan Smith reveals new child poverty measures
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to introduce controversial new pointers today that will quantify child poverty.
The period of time that a child has both birth parents, unemployment in the household, drug addiction and under-achievement in school will now all have an effect.
The new ways of measuring child poverty have been supported by the schools minister David Laws, who accepts that child poverty is about more than earnings and that other issues affect a child’s life.
Laws and Smith suggest that these new measures will give us a better understanding of UK poverty than the procedure pioneered by Labour that measured poverty comparative to the rest of the population.
Labour pledged to eliminate poverty by 2020, set an objective that no more than 1.7 million would be living in relative income poverty by 2010-11.
The target has not been met and current figures suggest that for the same period there were 2.3 million children living in relative income poverty.
Child poverty levels decreased by 2% earlier this year on paper, but income has not risen and official figures reveal that poverty levels in the home have not changed and more money isn’t coming into the household.
Chris Wellings, the head of poverty at Save the Children, said: “We agree that income is not the only way to measure poverty and looking at a child’s opportunities is critical, but we should be careful not to ditch the internationally recognised measure.”