Memorandum submitted by Barnado's (CP
Barnardo's welcomes the opportunity to respond
to this Inquiry.
Barnardo's is the leading UK children's charity,
working with 50,000 children, young people and families through
some 300 community-based services. This response draws on our
work with some of the most disadvantaged families in the UK, especially
the children and young people in those families who struggle daily
with the reality and consequences of poverty.
The overwhelming and compelling evidence from
our child care services that poverty was continuing to blight
the lives of so many children led to Barnardo's initiating a national
campaign against childhood poverty and social exclusion four years
ago. The work undertaken and the reports produced as part of this
campaign highlight the key causes of poverty for the families
we work with. This submission draws on these reports and especially
on the real life examples on which the reports are based.
A number of recommendations are made throughout
this report which are summarised in Appendix D.
2. THE MEASUREMENT
Barnardo's has been involved in the Government's
Consultation Paper on measuring child poverty.
The key issues in relation to the measurement
of child poverty are:
In our view income must be at the heart of a
measurement of child poverty. The 60% of median income as the
(aspirational) measure of child poverty should be retained. Whilst
this is not a perfect measure, it is an established measure against
which the Government's progress on child poverty can continue
to be monitored. This measure also enables comparisons within
the UK and across Europe.
As poverty is multi-faceted and complex, it is
important that a range of other measures, as well as income, are
used: therefore "Opportunity for all" needs to
continue. However, the headline indicators used in "Opportunity
for all" and in the similar documents for Scotland and
Wales do not adequately capture the different aspects of child
poverty and social exclusion and need reviewing.
Our suggestions for new indicators are as follows:
while it is accepted that the increase
in worklessness in the UK has been associated with the increase
in child poverty, child poverty can be caused by factors other
than worklessness (such as low pay). As Bradshaw1 points out "there
are very substantial proportions of poor children whose parents
are not workless". Worklessness is a cause of child poverty
not an outcome. Indicators are needed which capture these factors;
some of the indicators are concerned
only with Sure Start areas which fails to capture pockets of poverty
in more deprived areasthere are more poor children living
outside than in Sure Start areas. Indicators which adequately
capture all deprived areas are required;
specific indicators are needed to
measure progress on groups of children who are more likely to
be persistently and chronically poor, such as disabled children,
children in traveller families, children in large families and
black and minority ethnic children;
the "decency" threshold
in relation to housing does not measure children in privately
rented accommodation, children who are homeless and in temporary
accommodation and children who are in overcrowded accommodation.
New indicators measuring these are needed;
the education statistics focus on
DfES priorities and key stage attainments. But other issues, such
as school expenditure per pupil linked to ward level data are
equally important and need to be measured; and
many PSA targets, such as the number
of children involved in fatal accidents on the roads and in the
home, birth low-weight, child mortality and child morbidity, are
key to child outcomes and require associated indicators.
3. THE EXTENT
The extent of child poverty in Britain is well
known: 3.8 million or one in every three children is growing up
in poverty. The extent and main causes of poverty are:
almost one in five children (18%)
lives in a family where no one works at all2;
54% of children in lone parent families
live in poverty3;
27% of white children live in poverty,
compared with 48% of children from ethnic minorities4;
65% of children in families with
a disabled child are in the bottom 40% of income5; and
1 in 5 economically active young
people aged 16-17 is unemployed6.
Barnardo's experience of working with families,
children and young people across the UK confirms Government statistics.
Our key campaign reports which are based on our work, highlight
the following as the causes of poverty:
Despite the increases in benefits for children
and other initiatives, the current level of social security is
not sufficient to enable families to meet all their basic needs.
There has been no proper assessment by the UK government of the
minimum level of income needed to maintain health and to meet
essential needs since before the welfare system was introduced
Some claimants can be living below the basic
income support level because their benefit is deducted at source.
Benefit deductions can be made for social fund loans, overpayment
of benefit, debt or fines. The maximum amount that can be deducted
each week for arrears and child maintenance is £8.10 (CPAG
April 2001). In May 2001 1.22 million income support claimants
had one or more deductions from benefits, the largest group being
lone parents (755,000) and disabled people (582,000)7.
As the case study in Appendix A shows many families
are not gaining significantly from the recent increases in benefits:
the extra few pounds per week may be enough to lift them just
over the poverty line but do not make any significant differences
in living standards.
Closely related to the inadequacy of basic benefit
levels is the inadequacy of the arrangements dealing with any
untoward event in family life or purchasing the major items necessary
for equipping a home. Our experience shows that one of the major
drawbacks of the benefit system is the social fund as it is currently
The burden of Social Fund repayments on low-income
families can be crippling and the number of claimants has risen
by 35% in four years. In February 2000 it was reported that 709,000
claimants had an average of £9.41 deducted from their benefits
each week to repay Social Fund loans. Over half of these were
lone parents and a third disabled people8. The Government's target
to end child poverty means that the Social Fund and its objectives
are in urgent need of reform.
Barnardo's works with families whose income
is plunged far below the poverty line when they are paying back
social fund loans. Our report entitled "Invisible Children"9
gives case examples from our service users.
Angela Smith, for instance, is 30 years old
and has five children. Some months ago she took out a loan for
a bed and bedding for the children. She is now paying this loan
off at £33 per week, bringing the families weekly income
support down to £193. Angela says that she does not regret
taking out the loan because the items were essential, but now
that she has to pay it back "life is a real struggle".
Sarah Vinson has recently moved to a Wiltshire
market town after the break-up of her marriage. She has a tiny
house with no garden and the children have to share a bedroom.
But because the social fund provided loans and not grants, Sarah's
scared to consider asking for a transfer of accommodation that
would provide a garden for the children to play in and their own
room each. She says she simply cannot risk taking out social fund
loans that would be necessary to furnish and set up a new house
in even a very basic way.
Barnardo's is campaigning for a system of grants
to be re-introduced in the place of loans. But the Government
has again refused this approach. The Select Committee recommended
a radical overall of the Social Fund and see it as part of the
problem of child poverty, not part of the solution. Recent increases
to the budget of the discretionary social fund over the next three
years and changes to local decision-making are welcome. We remain
unconvinced, however, that these measures alone will be enough
to give the poorest families a cash safety net when needed.
These case studies show that the Social Fund
as it presently operates continues to have disastrous and frightening
implications for the poorest families. Reform of the Social Fund
is central to a strategy for ending child poverty and we would
urge that the forthcoming review of the Social Fund is far-reaching
In Barnardo's experience, the inadequacies of
the Social Fund is a key factor in driving people to take out
credit, frequently from loan sharks. Families with children tend
to accumulate the highest arrears, often for essential expenditure
such as paying household bills.
At the same time as personal debt is increasing,
many UK citizens do not have a bank account or access to sources
of affordable credit and other financial services. This results
in "financial exclusion" which is a key factor in perpetuating
A recent report from the Citizens Advice Bureau
shows that the amount owed by more than 900 Citizens Advice Bureau
clients surveyed over a one month period averaged nearly 14 times
their monthly income. On average CAB clients surveyed owed nearly
£10,700 with amounts ranging from £132 to £111,000but
their average monthly income was only £800less than
half that of the UK population at large. Consumer credit debt
was by far the biggest problem area, accounting for 70% for all
the debts in the survey10. Up to three million borrowers in Britain
use door-to-door facilities.
Interest rates of over 180% APR are routinely
being charged by doorstep lenders. A £500 loan to be paid
back over 18 months would cost £11.28 a week with Provident
Financial which would be paid back a total of £884.80a
76% interest rate. The same loan with Direct line would be repaid
in just 11 months with a typical credit charge of around £38.0011.
Examples from Barnardo's service users reinforce
Gaynor, 26, has three children, Matthew,
seven, Courtney, four, and Dylan who is nearly three. Another
baby is expected any day. Gaynor's husband, Jason is registered
as disabled. Gaynor and Jason rely on income support, child benefit
and disability benefit.
The couple have what Gaynor describes as
"major debt problems" and calculates that they owe between
£17,000 and £18,000. Their telephone has been cut off
and two of their numerous creditors have taken them to court.
Gaynor also borrows from people who loan
money "door-to-door". Before Christmas she accepted
a doorstep offer to "renew" her loan and received £200
cash in hand in exchange for an increase in her repayments of
£1 a week. However, she was later shocked to discover that
with interest, the £200 would cost her a total of £500
Gaynor is also paying £40 a week direct
from her benefits to pay back a social fund loan leaving the family
£200 a week for food, clothes and bills. Before going to
the CAB for help recently, she was paying £140 of this each
week to the door-to-door loan people.
Barnardo's believes that tackling debt and financial
exclusion must be an integral part of the Government's pledge
to end child poverty. There is an urgent need for the UK to impose
an interest rate ceiling, as is the case in many other industrialised
countries, to protect the poorest families from exploitation by
credit companies. Government also needs to invest, via local authorities,
in the development of credit unions, through debt redemption and
other schemes and to ensure better education about basic financial
services for everyone.
Measurements of household income do not take
into account extra costs. Two key reports produced by Barnardo's
demonstrate clearly that extra costs push families who are already
struggling into deeper poverty. One of these focuses on disabled
children and the other on financial pressures during the summer
It costs on average three times as much to raise
a child with severe impairment than a non-disabled child. The
families interviewed for Barnardo's report "Still Missing
Out? Ending poverty and social exclusion: Messages to Government
from families with disabled children"12 all incurred
extra costs as a result of their child's impairment. The main
areas of additional expenditure were basic necessities such as
transport, heating and fuel and clothing. Parents were often forced
to go into debt to meet their disabled child's basic needs, while
other non-disabled siblings went without.
Rachel and Paul live in London and have three
children, two of whom are disabled. Courtney has severe disabilities
and needs constant care and support. Her brother Jamie is autistic.
Their main cost for Courtney is clothing because of her incontinence.
Daily washing and buying new clothes regularly are expensive.
Clothing is also costly because Jamie has a tendency to make holes
in his clothes and rip them. He also causes damage to furniture
The establishment of a minimum income standard
which includes targeted support to meet the extra, essential costs
of caring for a disabled child is required if Government is to
lift disabled children and their families out of poverty.
Barnardo's latest child poverty report "Wish
You Were Here"13 highlights the difficulties facing parents
on low incomes during one of the most stressful times of the year.
The loss of free school meals during the holiday
period and the added burden of saving up for new school uniform
for September means that parents often struggle to make ends meet.
Free school meals in term-time for a family with two primary school
age children are currently worth £13.50 per week, at a cost
of £1.35 a meal. Approximately 1.6. million children aged
between five and 16 in Great Britain are entitled to free school
These additional financial pressures mean that
there is little chance of the trips and activities that most families
take for granted, such as a trip to the swimming poor or cinema.
The idea of a holiday away from home is a distant dream for many
To ensure that families do not suffer such hardship
and social exclusion in the summer holidays requires Government
to introduce additional food benefits during the holidays for
families on income support and job seeker's allowance. Also, there
should be a statutory duty on local education authorities to ensure
that families dependent on income support receive school uniform
grants to cover the full cost of essential items.
4. THE IMPACT
4.1 The Impact of Child Poverty
Barnardo's report "Counting the Cost
of Child Poverty"14 illustrates the grim facts of early
deprivation on young lives, but it also shows encouraging examples
of how children's futures can be turned around. In almost every
instance, positive investment in children's lives is cheaper than
dealing with the consequences of not investing (Appendix B).
There is a clear need to break the cycle of
disadvantage by helping parents to deal with the problems of poor
family relationships, mental and physical ill health and misuse
of alcohol and drugs. The benefits of early and timely intervention,
for example through community-based services such as health visiting
and family support are evident.
4.2 Children's Experiences of Poverty
The usual focus of poverty research is on adult
outcomes. It is equally important, however, to focus on the impact
of poverty on children's experiences of growing up. Lack of parental
income means that poor children are often excluded from the activities
that their peers take for granted resulting in social exclusion.
Barnardo's report "Wish you were here"
illustrates how lack of parental income, combined with extra costs
in the summer holidays, inadequate transport, the lack of locally
accessible and affordable activities for children results in heightened
I couldn't afford it. I've never had a holiday
with Michael. I've been camping down the river and that's as near
as we came to a holiday . . . It's a shame when all his friends
have been away and he goes back (to school) and says "I haven't
done much". (Lone parent with a 7-year-old child.)
4.3 Specific Groups of Children
Certain groups of children face an acute risk
of poverty: for example, children in one parent families who make
up nearly half of all poor children; children in black and minority
ethnic families; children in asylum seeking families; children
in large families; children in traveller families and disabled
For the purposes of this Inquiry we wish to
focus on disabled children. Barnardo's runs 52 services for disabled
children and their families and over 40 others include disabled
children. Barnardo's report "Still missing out"
draws on our extensive experience of working with disabled children
and their families. The report shows clearly that a disproportionate
number of families with disabled children are living in poverty
for a number of reasons. These reasons are supported by research
Inadequacy of Income
Of all families in the UK who care for disabled
children 55% either are or have been living in poverty15.
Most of the families in the report were struggling
financially and having to budget carefully to make ends meet.
Many did not feel that the recent increase in benefits had made
a great difference and a few families stressed that they were
only surviving due to Invalid Care Allowance and DLA. Income Support
was described "as a pittance". It was almost impossible
for families to save for emergencies.
It costs on average three times as much to
raise a child with a severe impairment as a non-disabled child16.
All the families interviewed had higher costs
resulting from their child's disabilitymost of these were
on necessities such as heating, clothing, transport, and special
toys and equipment.
Parents of disabled children are much less
likely to be in full-time work than parents of non-disabled children.
This finding is also supported by our report.
Most of the parents wanted to workas one mother said "I
don't want to be seen as a charity case. I prefer to earn my own
living and claim nothing".
Work can be a route out of poverty but families
with disabled children face a number of barriers. They are often
unable to work because they cannot secure childcare that meets
their child's needs. Specialist day care for disabled children
is difficult to find. Community-based play and leisure facilities
are rarely available for the parents of disabled children. Most
services for disabled children focus on providing care for short
breaks rather than after-school care to support parents' employment.
Work which provides parents with the flexibility
to care for their children is still difficult to find. Many parents
have numerous hospital appointments which makes commitment to
employment difficult. When parents are able to find suitable work,
it often doesn't pay once specialist childcare has been paid for.
The childcare tax credit is set at a flat rate and does not take
the higher costs of specialist childcare into account.
The parents who were in work were often in low-paid
work and moving into work meant that they had lost their entitlement
to passported benefits: they felt that this was a disincentive
to move into work.
Only between 40% and 60% of families claim
Disability Living Allowance. Socially disadvantaged families are
least likely to apply18.
Many parents, especially the minority ethnic
parents, were confused about their entitlements to benefits and
found procedures unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming.
As a result many families are not getting what they are entitled
to. Families want information in an easily accessible format "I
wish that the Government would provide us all with one idiot-proof
booklet, the easy guide to what you are entitled to"
said one mother.
The messages from the families in this report
support the research evidence that central government initiatives
to tackle childhood poverty and social exclusion, as well as the
agencies responsible for the delivery of services, are not meeting
the needs of disabled children and their families. If the targets
on child poverty are to be met, there must be a specific focus
on disabled children as well as other "hard to reach"
5. THE EXTENT
As a UK organisation with regional offices in
Yorkshire, the North-West, the Midlands, the South-West, London
and the South-East, Barnardo's through its direct service provision
has a sound understanding of the extent and causes of regional
variations in child poverty.
We would like to take this opportunity of drawing
the Inquiry's attention to three regional reports which highlights
5.2 Child Poverty in the South-West of
Barnardo's report "Invisible Children:
Child and family poverty in Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Somerset
and Wiltshire" uses ward data from the Office of National
Statistics (ONS) to show the extent of child poverty in the region.
There are an estimated 529,500 children under 16. Of these 132,000
(25%) are living in poverty.
As a children's charity, we have worked in this
region for many years and one of our most powerful impressions
is of the invisibility of children and families living in poverty.
There are a number of reasons for this:
The dominant view of the region is
that it is relatively affluent and not subject to the problems
experienced by highly urbanised areas in other parts of the UK.
In recent years general prosperity has increased as financial
services and high technology industries have "moved west".
This assumption of affluence has tended to mask the extent of
child and family poverty in the region.
The market and coastal towns are apparently
affluent commuter villages in the South West region which often
include small areas or estates in which there are high concentrations
of children living in poverty. These "hidden estates"
have a number of important characteristics in terms of child poverty
adults commute out of them for work.
Children (in families who can afford to) commute out for their
activities. This leaves children who are in families that have
very little money and no means of transport particularly vulnerable;
because of the smaller concentrations
of children in poverty over large areas there are often very limited
children's activities in these areas;
accessibility is a key issue. If
there are facilities for children it can often be very difficult
for parents without personal transport to get their children to
the cost of living for poor families
in these areas can be higher than for their counterparts in the
large cities. For instance, if the family live in a commuter village
their only choice may be a local shop selling a small range of
items at a higher price; and
due to the way in which statistics
about child poverty are generated, its extent within the region
is often obscured, particularly in the more rural areas. The ward
is the smallest administrative unit for which figures are regularly
produced. Yet because of the size of wards, pockets of real poverty
In contrast to the South-West, Yorkshire is
seen as an area which contains high levels of deprivation. Barnardo's
runs services for families and children in most of the metropolitan
districts and unitary authorities in Yorkshire. Three years ago
the Yorkshire regional office published a report which showed
that all but one of the metropolitan districts in the region featured
in the top quarter of the most deprived authorities in the UK.
Barnardo's services in Yorkshire work on a daily
basis with children and young people whose lives have been adversely
affected by poverty. Jerome's story shows how his father's redundancy
from the mines impacted on his life and how difficult it is to
break the cycle of poverty when it starts. (Appendix C)
5.4 Rural Poverty in Wales
Earlier this year Barnardo's Cymru and NCH Cymru
published a joint report on rural poverty in Wales.19.
A growing body of UK research shows that rural
communities include many families living on low incomes who face
particular difficulties resulting from social isolation and lack
of appropriate services. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (2000)
whilst showing the highest concentrations of poverty and deprivation
in urban, ex-mining and industrial areas of Wales, nevertheless
supported growing concern about poverty in rural areas, especially
in terms of housing and access to services.
Regeneration programmes in Wales have tended
to target urban, rather than rural areas. Scattered populations
or families living in "pockets" of deprivation, alongside
affluence, are rarely able to benefit from these programmes.
The study is based on the views and experiences
of families. They had all experienced problems with finding and
keeping jobs, child-care, transport and housing. What they say
they want is:
secure, reasonably local employment
with wages which actually make a difference to the quality of
decent, well-managed public housing
in neighbourhoods free from fear and free from crime and disorder;
affordable quality housing;
reliable, affordable family-friendly
help to finance and acquire skills
such as driving lessons (lessons tend to be more expensive in
affordable, quality childcare for
these who wish to work;
recognition and support from those
who wish to stay at home; and
opportunities for themselves and
their children which allow then to stay living where they are.
6. THE EFFECTIVENESS
6.1 Barnardo's welcomes the government's
commitment to ending child poverty. Recent figures show that they
are making some progress towards reducing child poverty, but Barnardo's
is concerned that that the current strategy will not reach all
those in greatest need. Many families who struggle with poverty
live outside the areas targeted for government help. In addition,
the primary focus on work as the main route out of poverty does
not help those families for whom work is not an optioneither
because the jobs are not there or because they have a disability,
health problems, caring duties, or difficulties with child care
6.2 Further Initiatives
The following further initiatives are needed:
6.2.1 The Need for a Coherent Long-Term
The Government needs to produce a document setting
out a "route map" describing how it intends to deliver
on the pledge to end child poverty. Such a document would demonstrate
how all Government departments are to work together in a systematic
and strategic way to improve outcomes for children. It would outline
the Government's medium- to long-term policies and key milestones
in relation to the eradication of child poverty and would identify
the roles to be played by other agencies (for example, local government,
social services, the voluntary sector) in ending child poverty.
It would include an economic analysis of the investment required
to deliver a strategy which would meet Government targets.
A route map would also show how mainstream funds
and targeted initiatives all fit together. The current programme
relies too heavily on projects and initiatives which are short
term and could displace mainstream funding. Furthermore, the monies
in targeted programmes are small in comparison to mainstream funds
and it is arguable that the most effective way to make a difference
is to ensure the adequacy of mainstream funds.
6.2.2 Ensuring Adequacythe Need
for a Minimum Income Standard (MIS)
Barnardo's is of the firm view that fundamental
to eradicating child poverty in the UK is the setting of a minimum
income standard/threshold below which no household should fall,
whether in or out of work. We have many case examples (see Appendix
D) which show that current levels of benefits are simply inadequate
for the task of bringing up children. Living on a low income places
intolerable stress on families who are dealing with a multitude
of problems. Providing an established minimum income standard
to maintain the health and well-being of children as outlined
in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would help families
cope better. This is consistent with the recommendations of the
Select Committee on Social Security which stated that: "the
Government should establish a specific budget to fund research
into the levels of income needed to avoid poverty . . . The Government
having set a target to eradicate poverty must now set itself a
standard to measure what levels of income individuals and families
need to live on".
The task of setting a MIS should not be left
to Government alone. An independent commission should be established
to recommend a MIS and to undertake the task of keeping it under
review. There is already a credible body of research, for example
budget standards methodology pioneered by the Family Budget Unit,
on which any panel or commission could draw.
The Children's Commissioner, as announced in
the Green Paper on Children at Risk, must have a pivotal role
to play as a member of a commission, by advising on measures and
issues specific to children and ensuring that the views of children
and young people are taken into consideration in setting a MIS.
6.2.3 Reaching all Children
The Government's strategy will reach the least-poor
children. A specific focus is needed on the most vulnerable groups
of childrenespecially disabled children. The Government
needs to target these groups of children specifically and to ensure
that policies aimed at ending child poverty also reach them.
Barnardo's is of the view that the following
issues need to be addressed by Government so that the 360,000
disabled children in the UK can benefit from its anti-poverty
All mainstream programmes and targeted
initiatives to have a specific focus on disabled children and
for example, the needs of disabled
children must take priority in the National Childcare Strategy
and the higher costs of specialised childcare included in funding
targets are needed to increase significantly
the number of childcare places and specialist trained childminders
available for disabled children;
a government-funded national awareness
campaign on disability benefits aimed at increasing take-up through
the provision of information which is clear and accessible, in
all formats and in different languages;
the establishment of a minimum income
standard, which includes targeted support to help with the extra,
essential costs of raising a disabled child; and
there needs to be an economic analysis
of the investment required to ensure that government programmes
aimed at lifting children out of poverty also reach disabled children.
6.2.4 A Benefits System that is Flexible
The benefits system needs to be more flexible
to improve financial protection for children, in particular:
an improvement in the take-up of
benefits, especially for disabled children. Figures from the DWP
show that in 2000-01 over two million poor households failed to
claim means-tested benefits worth as much as £4.5 billion
the benefits system must safeguard
families at times of pressure. Families need to be compensated
for the loss of free school meals in the school holidays. There
should be a statutory duty on local authorities to provide grants
for school uniforms for families in receipt of income support
to cover the essential items. These two policy measures, which
would be relatively easy to implement and fairly low cost would
however make a significant difference to the poorest families;
The system needs to be more responsive
in helping parents move into work.
6.2.5 Tackling Financial Exclusion and
Helping Families Avoid Debt
as argued earlier in this submission,
a radical reform of the social fund is central to ending child
the problem of debt in poor households
needs to be addressed and the social fund is presently being reviewed.
6.2.6 Tackling Regional Inequalities
Barnardo's supports the recommendations from
the House of Commons Housing, Planning, Local government and the
recognising the differences between
regions and prioritising the least prosperous regions, rather
than the current approach of developing policies for the benefit
of all regions;
acknowledging that the measures needed
to tackle unemployment need to be different in areas where there
are lots of jobs and in places where job opportunities are few
and far between;
ensuring that the fundamentals for
growthtransport, research and development investment and
universitiesare put in place now in the less prosperous
giving adequate powers and resources
to elected regional assemblies where they are introduced; and
reviewing the allocation of public
resources between the nations and the regions of the UK.
As well as these recommendations, Barnardo's
would also wish to see:
greater focus on pockets of poverty
in areas of affluence with appropriate targeting of resources;
more "joined-up" approach
in the implementation of the Government's anti-poverty strategies.
This could be achieved through "regional proofing" of
policiesfor example does the National Childcare Strategy,
an important plank in Government policy, work for parents whatever
their geographical circumstances and what adjustments in terms
of resources and delivery need to be made?;
regeneration initiatives becoming
more focused on achieving positive outcomes for children and young
people: many are too adult focused; and
longer-term funding for regeneration
and other Government initiatives.
6.2.7 The Role of Local Authorities
Local authorities, working with central government,
could play a greater role in tackling childhood poverty and social
exclusion. For example by ensuring that:
local provision meets the needs of
and includes the poorest children;
by working more pro-actively with
local providers, such as transport, leisure centres and commercial
centres to ensure that concessions for activities are available
for families on low incomes; and
by undertaking local take up campaigns
to encourage families to take-up their entitlements to state benefits.
THE UK AND
7.1 As a UK-based charity we would recommend
that comparisons within the UK, such as contained in "Opportunity
for All" and in the UK National Inclusion Plans continue.
However, Barnardo's would like to see the child
poverty agenda as a more effective partnership with all the four
countries which takes account of both demographic differences
and economic growth. This needs to inform both policy and resource
For example, the Scottish Parliament's Finance
Committee has published a cross-cutting review of expenditure
in tackling child poverty. The review raised a number of concerns,
especially the fact that spending on core services which help
tackle poverty and disadvantagesuch as local government
and housingare growing below average. The review concluded
that "The Executive has delivered significant new resources
to tackle child poverty and disadvantage since 1999 and there
is evidence of modest progress for 1997 to 2000. Further progress,
however, will require further action by the UK Government on benefits
and better targeting and monitoring of poverty and disadvantage
by the Executive".21.
Barnardo's is of the view that there is a need
to systematically review how the UK as a whole is meeting the
child poverty targets and what adjustments are required to take
account of the different circumstances prevailing in the four
countries. This needs to be part of a long-term strategy that
is set out in a "route map" referred to earlier.
Principal Policy Officer
10 September 2003