Memorandum submitted by Child poverty
Action Group (CP 27)
In line with the Institute for Fiscal Studies
analysis, there should be a £5 per week increase in benefit
for every child living in a low-income family to ensure that the
poverty reduction targets are reached (para 32).
There should be an explicit commitment by every
relevant spending department to the goal of eradicating child
poverty with child poverty related targets (para 40).
An adequate Minimum Income Standard should be
established and used as the basis for social security benefit
rates (para 55).
There is a strong case for establishing an independent
body tasked with responsibility for monitoring, evaluating and
advising this and future governments on tackling child poverty
There should be a minimum income standard (MIS)
for a child. This MIS should be enhanced where there is extra
need, for example, where there is a disability (para 63)The combined
value of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit should be at least
equal to the MIS (para 63).
The commitment to up-rate the Child Tax Credit
at least in line with average earnings should be extended indefinitely.
A requirement to up-rate by this method should be included in
primary legislation (para 67).
Consideration should be given to writing off
over-payments where these occurred as a result of administrative
error (para 71).
The Social Fund requires urgent reform to ensure
that it meets the objectives of eradicating child poverty, improving
the health and educational attainment of children, and facilitating
the move from benefit to paid work (para 78).
The most important priorities should be fundamental
reform of the Social Fund and further increases in financial support
to ensure that families have the resources they need while raising
their children, and have the capacity to save, not to implicitly
assume that this is already the case (para 84).
Conditionality based on personal or family behaviour
should not interfere with entitlement provided that the person
fits the relevant conditions of entitlement to that benefit (para
There needs to be political consensus over the
goal of ending child poverty by 2020 (para 95).
An increased minimum wage is an essential element
to tackling child poverty (para 96).
"Our historic aim, that ours is the first
generation to end child poverty forever . . . It's a 20 year mission
but I believe it can be done".Tony Blair, March 1999
"Child Poverty . . . a scar on Britain's
soul and an affront to our sense of decency as a nation."Gordon
Brown, December 2001
"Five new giants blight Britain today .
. . the fourth giant is child poverty".Iain Duncan
Smith, September 2002
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes
the Committee's inquiry into child poverty and is happy to contribute
to it. We would also welcome the chance to add to evidence we
set out if it would aid the work of the Committee. The inquiry
is timely: the Department for Work and Pensions is due to publish
the conclusions of it consultation on measuring child poverty
by the end of 2003. In Budget 2003 the Chancellor stated that
the government will examine measures needed to make faster progress
in reducing child poverty. To this end the Treasury is leading
on a "child poverty review", which will inform decisions
in the next Budget and the 2004 Spending Review.
CPAG believes that the best guarantee for the
future social and economic health of our society is to invest
in our children and young people. Poverty remains one of the most
serious problems facing children, with a negative impact on health,
education, social and physical development and future life chances
and opportunities. The Government's commitment to eradicating
child poverty is to be applauded. It is a goal that deserves cross-party
support and public endorsement. Eradicating child poverty is a
radical and onerous ambitionone that requires a long-term
This submission shows that poverty for children
in the UK has increased, is significant in the lives of many (Part
I) and that its impact is poorer outcomes and life chances for
those afflicted by poverty (Part II). Having done so the submission
shows that policy can make a difference, reviewing progress against
the historic commitment to abolish child poverty by 2020 (Part
III) and specifically addressing the Treasury's 2004 spending
review. The submission discusses UK wide policy, but also that
which has come from the devolved governance structures. The submission
then discusses the DWP consultation on measuring child poverty
(Part IV) and CPAG's response. Part V looks at current issues
and policy debates: the Child Tax Credit, reforming the Social
Fund, the Child Trust Fund and benefit conditionality.
"Individuals, families and groups in the
population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources
to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and
have the living conditions and amenities which are customary,
or are at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies
in which they belong."
1. It is often said that there is no "official"
measure of child poverty. In practice the Labour Government has
consistently been defining child poverty as any child living in
a household with income below 60% of median income, after allowing
for expenditure on housing costs. The Government's first milestone
target is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by
this measure by 2004-05. Other "indicators" of child
poverty (including other measures of incomeboth "relative"
and "absolute") are used (for example in the annual
Opportunities for All report).
2. The 2001-02 Household Below Average Income
show that 3.8 million children (one in three) were living in income
poverty. This compares to 1.9 million children in 1979.
3. Of the 3.8 million children in poverty:
55% lived with a couple and 45% lived
with a lone parent;
52% lived in a family where one or
more members of the household worked full time;
48% lived in a workless household;
45% lived in families with three
or more children;
25% lived in a household where there
were one or more adults with a disability;
47% lived in a family where the youngest
child was under five years of age;
4. The risk of living in income poverty
is not shared equally across all household types:
54% of children in lone parent households
lived in income poverty compared with 22% of children in couple
children in households where no adult
is working are at significantly greater risk of income poverty
(79%). However, nearly 1 in 5 children who live in a household
where at least one adult was working was in poverty;
half of children in a family with
four or more children lived in income poverty; and
children from black and minority
ethnic households are more at risk of income poverty. 27% of children
in white households were income poor, compared with 36% of Indian
children; 41% of Black non-Caribbean children; 47% of Black Non-Caribbean
and 69% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children.
5. The evidence is clear and compelling:
growing up in poverty has adverse consequences for children. The
effects are manifested in different ways: on physical health and
development; learning and behaviour and emotional well-being.
The result is that children are prevented from realising their
full potential. There is a social and economic cost, during childhood
but also as a consequence of the long-term legacy that poverty
can leave. We do not intend to review the impact of poverty here
in great depth, more data is provided in our publication "Poverty
the facts" (available on request), but instead to highlight
some key evidence which help to show the impact of poverty on
the lives of many of the children in the UK.
Access to Necessities
6. The Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE)
survey derived a list of "socially perceived necessities,"
that is items and activities that a majority of people consider
to be necessities that everyone "should be able to afford
and which they should not have to do without". Children were
defined as deprived if they lacked one or more necessities because
the parents could not afford them. On this measure the survey
found that: 34% of children lacked one or more items, 18% lacked
two or more. Deprivation was higher for "non-white"
children: 34% lacked two or more items compared with 14% of "white"
7. Research by the Centre for Research in
Social Policy for Save the Children,
also discussed separately by Middleton in her submission to this
inquiry, used data from the PSE and the British Household Panel
Survey to investigate the number of children living in "severe
poverty" and its persistence over time. They used a mix of
income poverty and material deprivation to define severe poverty.
The finding was that 8% of childrenaround one millionwere
in severe poverty (ie, they were poor on all of three measures:
and "parental deprivation").
In addition, 37% of children were "non-severely poor"that
is, poor on one or two of the three measures.
8. Severely poor children were found to
lack items that were most highly ranked as necessities, for example:
a warm waterproof coat (13% lacked
new properly fitted shoes (17%);
at least seven new pairs of underpants
meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent
twice daily (31%); and
fresh fruit and vegetables daily
9. The recent report,
published by the Department for Work and Pensions, on the Families
and Children Survey (FACS) constructed a hardship index based
on nine indicators of hardship, based around housing conditions,
family finances and material deprivation, but not income poverty.
The report itself indicates the hardship index "is a very
conservative measure placing `in hardship' only those families
who are experiencing serious difficulty . . . They are not meant
to imply an exhaustive standard of family hardship not impoverished
The report shows that between 1999 and 2001 the proportion of
non-working families experiencing severe hardship fell substantially:
from 48% to 31%.
It remains sobering however that a third of non-working families
were still in "severe hardship" by this conservative
measure in 2001. The study found that families in hardship were
more likely to belong to a minority ethnic group; both parents
and their children were younger and they had bigger families;
more were likely to be a social tenant; less likely to have educational
qualifications and more likely to have a disability or illness.
10. The PSE survey data was collected in
1999, before the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit,
increases in means-tested support for children and the Child Tax
Credit. Research using the FACS
indicates an improvement in living standards for low/moderate
income families between 1999 and 2001 (see para 9). This is welcome,
nonetheless the PSE survey and analysis reveals a depressing picture
of the extent to which children lacked necessary items and were
unable to participate in social activities.
11. The home and community environment in
which children are brought up is crucial to their development
and physical and mental health. The number of children killed
in accidents has halved over the last decade and this has compressed
the difference between social classes. Nevertheless children from
manual classes still remain more likely to die in accidents than
children from non-manual social classes.
Research published by the IPPR found that children in the 10 most
deprived wards are more than three times as likely to be pedestrian
road casualties than those in the 10% least deprived wards, even
having controlled for the increased risk of accidents in urban
Children and adults in deprived areas are more likely to make
journeys by foot and less likely to have gardens or areas to play
in. Indeed despite the wide-ranging benefits of play, research
by the Children's Play Council found that play opportunities for
children of school age are often restricted, children in low-income
families often have fewer play opportunities than others.
12. "The general consensus is that
there are strong links between socio-economic disadvantage and
poor child health."
For children there is an association between being in poverty
and increased risk of mortality (from illness, accident and suicide)
and both physical and psychological morbidity.
13. A recent Department of Health review
of health inequalities
highlighted a substantial social class gradient in infant mortality
with children born to parents in social class V ("unskilled")
suffering much the highest risk of death. Most childhood mortality
occurs before the age of one, but class variations persist beyond.
A review of evidence by Bradshaw examined the impact of poverty
on children and showed that the overall risk of death for was
1.9 times greater for children in social class V as for children
in social class IV.
14. The Acheson Inquiry
discussed the role of diet and highlighted the fact that low-income
mothers were not able to afford an adequate and healthy diet.
This is likely to have an impact on the child throughout his or
her life. The impact of poverty begins at birth with a link between
social class and a greater risk of low birth weight. Children
born to parents from manual social classes stand an increased
risk of being born underweight than children from non-manual social
Low birth weight may influence later cognitive function and educational
performance: those of higher birth weight are more likely to achieve
This effect may persist beyond childhood as a study, published
in the British Medical Journal,
has demonstrated. The same study concluded that although both
lower social class and lower birth weight are associated with
poorer cognitive ability of the two factors social class had the
15. Breast milk is the best form of nutrition
for infants but there is a steep social class gradient in breastfeeding
from 57% of mothers in social class V to 91% in social class I.
As CPAG's recent report Poverty Bites: Food health and poor
"Poorer educated, single and younger mothers
are least likely to initiate breastfeeding, and those who do,
stop sooner . . . infants from the lowest socio-economic groups
are more likely to be anaemic, partly because they are more likely
to be premature, with low iron stores, and to be fed cow's milk
from a very earlier age. They are also more likely to experience
common infections as a result."
16. There is a link between income poverty
and the ability to afford an adequate and healthy diet. Children
in low-income groups are, for example, 50% less likely to eat
fruit and vegetables than those in the highest income groups.
Poverty bites: Food health and poor families challenged
the view that families in poverty have only themselves to blame
for a poor diet.
People on low incomes are effective managers of food and money,
but inadequate incomes, higher food prices and lack of choice
can contribute to food insecurity and poor diets. Parents admit
to going without food to feed their children, but spending on
food is often cut to avoid or reduce debtsfor many families
food spending is the only flexible item of their budget. Poor
diets are associated with poorer health.
"Children coming to school hungry or stressed
as a result of their social and economic environment will be unable
to take full advantage of learning opportunities and stress, depression
and social exclusion may reduce parents' capacity to participate
in their children's education". Acheson report: Independent
Inquiry into Inequalities in Health.
17. The Family Fortunes study
found that educational items such as school trips, lessons and
sport can account for a significant proportion of family spending
on primary and secondary school children. CPAG's recent report,
The Cost of Educationa Local Study,
points out that despite having a "free" school system,
education related costs are a problem facing low-income families.
The report highlights that "voluntary" charges for activities
did not feel voluntary for many parents, and children may be deterred
from joining extra activities that require costly equipment. If
family finances prevent participation, children in poor families
children may be identified and stigmatised as "different'
and as poor (see paras 23-25).
18. The links between poverty, social class
and poor educational attainment are strong:
In 2002, only 59% of children receiving
free school meals reached expected attainment levels in Keystage
3 for English, compared to 70% of those not receiving free school
Schools in the poorest communities
have between 10 and 25% of pupils achieving five GCSE passes at
grades A* to C against a national average of just under 50%.
Nearly 90% of "failing schools"
are located in areas of deprivation and have a large proportion
of children eligible for free school meals.
19. The quality of the home environment
and the lack of resources such as space to work, books and a computer
at home can be important factors in influencing children's education.
Financial pressures on low-income families can be particularly
acute during school breaks, with parents unable to afford activities
such as going away on holiday.
The Poverty and Social Exclusion survey shows that although a
majority of parents thought that a holiday was necessary for children,
one fifth did not get one due to financial constraint.
The inability to afford a holiday denies children and families
an opportunity for relaxation and stimulation.
20. Professor Ruth Lister, in her submission
to the Select Committee's Inquiry, argues that child poverty cannot
be divorced from the poverty of the family in which children grow
up. The extent to which parents, particularly mothers, make sacrifices
for their children (acting as "shock-absorbers") is
highlighted by research. The Small Fortunes survey found that
in half of families where the parents were defined as poor (lacking
three or more essential items) the children were not lacking essentials.
Mothers reported going without clothes, shoes and entertainment
to provide for their children. One in 20 lone mothers went without
food and lone mothers on Income Support were 14 times more likely
to go without food than mothers in non-claimant, two parent families.
The Centre for Research in Social Policy/Save the Children research
report suggested similar findings, that children in severe poverty
"had parents who were sacrificing their own health and well-being
by cutting back on food and clothing for the sake of their children."
21. The Small Expectations study
explored the financial pressures on parents and children and the
extent to which children's perceptions and attitudes were influenced
by the experience of living in income poverty. The finding was
that children "learned to be poor", that is the financial
pressures on the family shaped their economic learning, behaviour
and aspirations. The study, based on interviews with more than
400 children, found that children in lone parent or families in
receipt of Income Support had much lower expectations about their
future careers. Children learnt to expect, and to accept, less
from an early age. Two thirds of children in lone parent or families
in receipt of Income Support said that they were frequently told
their family could not afford things they wanted, compared with
less than half of other children.
22. A recent study explored how low-income
families with children spend an increase in household income where
this occurred following a move into paid employment. Children
were the main priority for spending, with parents describing the
lengths they would go to ensure their children's well-being, before
and after the move into work.
Children were more likely to benefit than their parents, for example,
in terms of food, clothing and materially. Parents were concerned
that their children did not look poor by their appearance or the
activities they took part in. Parents who felt less stressed financially
found that the relationship with their children improved: "parents
no longer snapped when the subject of money was mentioned."
Embarrassment and Stigma
23. Children living in poverty experience
embarrassment and stigma, if identified as poor they may be treated
differently to, and by, their peers. Stigma is one of the reasons
why children eligible for free school meals do not take up their
entitlement. CPAG published research
on the non-take-up of free school meals found a third of children
and over two fifths of parents identified embarrassment or fear
of being teased as a key factor which put people off taking up
their free meal:
"People just think that if you're on free
school meals you're going to be a one-sock person, they think
that you're not very nice and that your parents just can't be
bothered to get a job or something. But that's not the case in
Anxiety about stigma and "being different"
was also a key concern for parents:
"When I went to school, people used to take
the micky. Parents remember that. I've a friend whose children
could have free meals but she doesn't apply. She remembers that."
24. The importance of children's own perspective
on poverty is increasingly recognised. Ridge has carried out research
to explore the issues and concerns that low-income children themselves
identify as important. For example, the importance of fitting
in and inclusion at school:
"I don't usually go on trips 'cos they are
expensive and that . . . At our school they do loads of activities
and they go to loads of different places . . . I don't bother
asking". And on peer group participation:
"I just want to fit in the group . . . people
take the mick out of me because I can't afford things. Like my
trainers are messy and they don't suit me and I need new trainers
and new clothes . . . I don't get decent clothes like everyone
25. Poverty, where it is somehow "visible",
tends to result in poor children being treated different from
their peers. This is clearly unpleasant and uncomfortable for
those children experiencing it. Beyond this it has financial implications
through the non-take up of stigmatising benefits.
Part IIIThe Government's Record
26. The Select Committee Inquiry is primarily
focused on the UK Government's strategy to tackle child poverty
and so this part of the submission reviews the Government's record.
This is set within the context of policy change that has been
made not just by the UK government, but also in the Scottish Parliament
and the devolved assemblies in Wales and London. One of the conclusions
of the recent inquiry conducted by the Finance Committee of the
Scottish Parliament into cross-cutting spending to tackle child
highlighted the need for a better fit between the UK Government
and Scottish Executive policies, amid changing boundaries of responsibilities.
27. The Government is making solid progress
in tackling child poverty. The situation it inherited should not
be forgotten: the proportion of children living in income poverty
had increased from about one in 10 in 1979 to one in three by
By 2001-02 this stood at 30%
a figure which represents a slight reduction against the contemporary
median. It was however a substantial drop against the official
poverty "yardstick" of 60% of the 1996-97 median (up-rated
in real terms): down from 34 to 20% of children between 1996-97
According to a report by UNICEF in 2000, the UK was near the bottom
in a league table of relative income poverty, along with the United
States, Italy and Mexico.
However, despite a decline in the number of children living in
poverty the number in poverty remains near to historically high
28. The Labour Party manifesto in 1997 did
not include a pledge to tackle child poverty indeed there was
no mention of child poverty at all. The decision to implement
the planned abolition of lone parent benefit justifies the claim
that the first two years "were dire for poor children,"
but measures to improve the incomes of families with children
were announced before the Prime Minister's Beveridge lecture
in March 1999. Increases in Child Benefit, the Income Support
family premium and the under 11's rate of the child premium were
included in the 1998 Budget. The Chancellor announced: "I
believe in future years that we can and should do more".
The Prime Minister's pledge to eradicate child poverty within
20 years was unexpected and dramatically transformed the political
and policy context.
29. The Government's strategy to reducing
child poverty was summarised in the 2001 Pre-Budget report as
having four main elements:
ensuring "a decent family income", delivering "excellent
public services", supporting parents and "harnessing
the power and expertise of the voluntary and community sectors".
To measure progress the Government has published an annual report
since 2000, "Opportunity for All", which monitors progress
against a range of indicators. Publication of an annual report
is to be welcomed. However, critics argue that some of the indicators
are too narrow, some are not indicators of poverty and the wide
range of measures makes it difficult to assess how progress is
30. One issue has been the Government's
own claims of progress and the fit with the Public Service Agreement
(PSA) target to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004-05.
Before the 2001 election the Government claimed that it "had
lifted" 1.2 million children out of poverty (measured as
children in households below 60% of the median).
Independent analysis suggested that the Government was on course
to deliver. The 2001 manifesto pledged to lift a "another"
one million children out of poverty.
In a speech during the campaign, the Chancellor put a date on
this: the target was to lift a further one million children out
of poverty by 2005.
31. After the election the claim to have
lifted one million children out of poverty was clarified. The
Opportunity for All report of September 2001 stated: "We
estimate that as a result of the policies in place there are an
estimated 1.2 million less children in low income poverty than
there would have been".
The Treasury provided further clarification: the 1.2 million included
children who would have fallen into poverty had there been no
change in policies after the 1997 election. The Household Below
Average Income figures for 2000-01 (the year before the General
Election) were published in April 2002. The reduction between
1996-97 and 2000-01 were 500,000considerably short of the
32. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated
in its 2003 Green Budget the impact of government policies on
the number of children in income poverty (including the introduction
of the Child Tax Credit from April 2003). The baseline figure
for the 2004-05 target is 4.2 million childrenthere will
need to be fewer than 3.1 million children in poverty to meet
the target. Based on information available at the time, the IFS
concluded that the Government may miss the 2004-05 target by around
200,000 children unless further measures were taken to improve
financial support. The IFS estimated that the per child element
of the Child Tax Credit would need to be increased by £3
a week from April 2004. When the HBAI figures for 2000-01 were
published in March, the IFS adjusted its estimate of the increase
needed to around £5 a week. In line with the Institute for
Fiscal Studies analysis, there ought to be a £5 per week
increase in benefit for every child living in a low-income family
to ensure that the poverty reduction targets are reached. CPAG
is campaigning on this issue.
Spending Review 2004
33. In Budget 2003 the Chancellor put tackling
child poverty at the heart of the 2004 Spending Review:
" . . . for Budget 2004 and the next spending
review, both the welfare reform and public service changes needed
to advance faster towards these [child poverty] goals".
The intention to make "faster progress"
towards meeting the child poverty goals is significant and encouraging.
We welcome the commitment to consult with the research community
and voluntary sector. Our understanding is that this will include
a series of Treasury-led seminars starting in autumn 2003.
34. Whilst the child poverty review and
the commitment to make faster progress towards reducing child
poverty are welcomed, there is a problem: until the DWP publishes
the conclusions of its review of child poverty measures (see paras
47-50), we will not have a clear picture of what the goals are
that the Government intends to make faster progress against.
35. The Finance Committee of the Scottish
Parliament recently published, in June 2003, a report following
a review of cross-cutting expenditure in relation to child poverty
in Scotland. The review sought to examine the pattern of expenditure
"directed at the relief and prevention of child poverty in
Scotland", and the distribution between the UK government,
the Scottish Executive and local and health authorities.
The conclusions and recommendations are timely in the context
of the Treasury's child poverty review and the Work and Pensions
Select Committee Inquiry. Although the Select Committee is focusing
on the policies of the UK Government, the Scottish Finance Committee's
report highlights useful and relevant issues, for example on funding
formulas and how the budgets which target child poverty are determined,
allocated and spent.
36. The Scottish Finance Committee report
states "our concern is not with funding of universal services,
which children access of right, but the additional funding within
such programmes allocated to reflect the special problems of children
in poverty . . .".
That said, the report does address issues arising from mainstream
fundingfor example in health and local government spending
there may be difficulties determining which programmes or services
benefit children. The Finance Committee also believed "it
is more or less impossible to distinguish between expenditure
that benefits children in poverty as opposed to all children",
unless projects are funded by a specific grant.
37. The Finance Committee says that it is
unable to tell whether the Scottish Executive is delivering on
its commitment (in "Closing the Opportunity Gap")
to ensure that "health, education and care services are focussing
their resources on these children and families who need most support".
It gives two main reasons: firstly, there is a lack of publicly
available evidence as to how local authorities and health services
use resources to reflect the consequences of child poverty, and
there is little analysis at local level of the extent to which
expenditure is directed towards tackling child poverty. Secondly,
it is difficult to track spending on programmes targeted on child
poverty once resources are transferred to spending agencies.
38. The UN Committee on the Rights of the
Child has welcomed the commitment to eradicate child poverty but
expressed concern that the Convention was not being implemented
to the "maximum extent of . . . available resources"
as stipulated by Article 4 of the Convention.
The Committee recommended an analysis of all budgets across the
UK Government and the devolved administrations "in order
to show the proportion spent on children, identify priorities
and allocated resources to the "maximum extent of . . . available
The Committee also urged the UK Government "To take all necessary
measures to the "maximum extent of . . . available resources"
to accelerate the elimination of child poverty.
39. The terms of reference for the Treasury's
child poverty review provides an opportunity to put the goal of
eradicating child poverty more at the heart of mainstream public
services. People living in poverty clearly benefit from good quality
mainstream services, such as health, education, housing and transport.
However, the assumption that all boats will rise in not matched
by experience. Families in poverty can have greater need for services
but less access to them. The need for mainstream services to become
more responsive to the needs of "disadvantaged populations"
is recognised by the Department of Health
in the context of tackling health inequalities and the "inverse
care law" where "the availability of good medical care
tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population
40. There should be an explicit commitment
by every relevant spending department to the goal of eradicating
child poverty with child poverty related targets. In turn, this
commitment should cascade down to authorities and spending agencies.
The Treasury has set a form of precedent by the adoption of cross-departmental
Public Service Agreements (PSAs). Such targets influence spending
allocations but inevitably the emphasis is on outcomes rather
than expenditure. The Scottish Finance Committee highlights the
fact that spending intended to tackle child poverty is often incorporated
into general expenditure heads. If spending is not ring-fenced
"it is impossible to discern what happens to the resources
at local level (or at least without very detailed work on the
accounts of the lower tier authorities."
The devolved Parliament and assemblies
41. Given the constitutional changes and
shifts of power and responsibility since 1997 the role of the
devolved governance structures has become important, not least
as much work as been initiated by these bodies to tackle child
poverty. This section summarises that initiatives taken to tackle
42. The Scottish Executive in its first
Social Justice Annual Report reported stated: "we wish to
make child poverty a thing of the past within a generation".
The Social Justice Report 2002
has six "Milestones" relating to children including
"reducing the proportion of . . . children living in workless
households" and "reducing the proportion of children
living in low income households". Although the Scottish Executive
has stated its intention to make, and to monitor, progress in
reducing child poverty it has noticeably not adopted an equivalent
of the UK Government's Public Service Agreement (PSA) target to
reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004-05. The Executive has
adopted two cross-cutting themes "closing the opportunity
gap" and "sustainable development". "Closing
the Gap", published in 2002.
43. The National Assembly for Wales publishes
an annual Social Inclusion report, in this it states that ".
. . tackling child poverty is a fundamental component of its broader
strategy to improve the quality of life and extend opportunity
to every community in Wales".
The Children's Commissioner for Wales in his first report to the
Assembly described child poverty as a "national disgrace".
In response, the Executive announced the establishment of a Child
Poverty Task Force. The National Assembly for Wales has formally
adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a framework
in its strategy for children and young people.
44. A Joint Ministerial Committee on Poverty
exists to share good practice, chaired by the Chancellor with
Ministers from the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland.
45. The Greater London Authority (GLA) has
published a report on poverty and social exclusion in London:
A draft Children's Strategy was published in April 2003 and the
GLA has been consulting on an anti-poverty strategy for London
("Tackling poverty in London").
46. The Local Government Association (which
represents local authorities in England and Wales) has made social
inclusion a priority. In 2002 the LGA agreed with the Government
seven shared priorities for improving public services, one of
which includes tackling child poverty. The Chair of the LGA's
Social Inclusion Executive said "Local Government is a key
player in the battle to reduce child poverty".
In April the LGA launched a campaign, "Quids for Kids",
to improve the take-up of benefits and tax credits for families
47. CPAG welcomed the DWP's consultation
on measuring child poverty, although with some reservations. It
was not always clear whether the main purpose was to agree a "headline"
measure of child poverty, or whether the exercise was also about
identifying measures to inform and monitor a broader range of
policies, reflecting the multi-dimensional nature of the problem.
48. The preliminary conclusions on the consultation
state that there was no consensus on the preferred option to be
used as a single measure. Two options for measuring child poverty
have, however, been ruled out: a child poverty index and a "consistent
poverty" measure on its own. The DWP is, however, looking
at whether a consistent poverty measure could be combined with
other indicators or included as part of a "tiered" measure.
49. There was wide agreement on some principles:
that income, particularly a measure of relative income, should
be central to measuring child poverty; that the Government should
continue to publish the indicators for Opportunity For All (in
addition to a headline measure); and that a relative income measure
is not sufficient on its own.
50. However, two proposals supported by
CPAG have been ruled out:
a Minimum Income Standard is deemed
not to be appropriate "for inclusion in a long-term measure";
the setting up of an independent
commission to "establish the poverty measure" is deemed
not to be necessary.
Minimum Income Standard
51. CPAG is disappointed that the introduction
of a Minimum Income Standard has been rejected. It need not be
introduced as part of a headline measure but can be a useful tool
in its own right. The DWP argues that there is no "simple
answer" to what level of income is adequate for families
with children and that "different research methods make different
assumptions". Indeed, but there is no reason why a consensus
on the approach and research methods is not possible.
52. The then Social Security Select Committee
recommended in reports on the Integrated Child Credit and the
Social Fund that the Government should establish a specific budget
to fund research into the levels of income needed to avoid poverty
and should set up a working party to assist the Government to
draw up acceptable levels.
53. One method of constructing a MIS is
based on budget standards. A report on such budget standards work
in Australia noted: ". . . the method identifies what needs
have to be met in order to maintain a given standard of living
and then costs them. This is a complex and formidable task . .
. the fact that this requires judgments to be made which many
will dispute reflects the inherent difficulties associated with
obtaining quantitative measures of the standard of living, rather
than any fundamental objection to the notion of a budget standard
54. Work by the Family Budget Unit (FBU)
provides examples of establishing budget standards.
The FBU looked at two types of cost: "standard costs",
such as food, clothing which do not generally vary according to
area; and "variable costs" such as housing, fuel and
transport. The budgets are not intended to be prescriptive. Researchers
compiling budget standards never claim that they are working to
an exact science. A family may choose or require a different pattern
of spending, the crucial point is that if a family does not have
the resources that reflect a particular budget standard it will
not be able to meet all the needs on which the standard is based.
55. The UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child recognises "the right of every child to a standard
of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual,
moral and social development" (Article 27 (1)). The Government
ought to have a view on what is an "adequate" standard
of living. CPAG believes an adequate Minimum Income Standard should
be established and used as the basis for social security benefit
An Independent Poverty Commission
56. The DWP has taken a narrow reading of
the arguments for an independent poverty "commission"
by concluding that such a body is not necessary to "establish
the poverty measure". CPAG believes that there is a strong
case for establishing an independent body tasked with responsibility
for monitoring, evaluating and advising this and future governments
on tackling child poverty. The body could have responsibility
for "auditing" policies across government departments
and would have the important task of keeping the headline measures
of child poverty under review. An independent body would be best
placed to devise a minimum income standard (or advise government
on introducing a standard), as well as keeping it under review.
57. The Government has, following the report
of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry, announced the intention to establish
a "children's commissioner" for England. In light of
the Children's Commissioner for Wales' emphasis on the importance
of child poverty (see para 43), the commissioner for England should
be enabled to give explicit attention to policies to tackling
A Relative Income Measure
58. CPAG in evidence to the Social Security
Select Committee Inquiry into the integrated child credit suggested
that in the long term a different measure of income poverty, other
than 60% of median income, may need to be adopted. However, the
current income poverty measure should be retained for now and
used consistently for the targets to reduce child poverty by a
quarter by 2004-05 and by half by 2010.
59. Comparing income poverty across countries
is problematic; nevertheless some comparison can be made using
the 60% equivalised income measure. Doing so highlights substantial
variation, defining children as those younger than 16 years, Bradshaw
used European Union data to show that the UK has the highest proportion
of children in poverty on this measure (39% of children living
in households in poverty), in Denmark the comparable figure was
3%, 7% in Finland and 10% in Sweden. These figures are drawn from
the European Community Household Panel and caution is needed when
comparing with the HBAI statistics, but the comparison is instructive.
The UK performs poorly on this measure compared to our European
60. The goal of eradicating child poverty
is ambitious and onerous which is why the Government has achieved
a consensus that a time frame of 20 years is reasonable and realistic.
The target to halve the number of children in relative income
poverty by 2010 is achievable, given the political will. Should
new headline measures of child poverty be adopted there may be
a case for reviewing the time frame for delivering on the pledge
to eradicate child poverty.
61. The current income poverty measure has
been criticised as more a measure of income inequality and that
fixing a poverty line at a certain percentage of average income
is arbitrary. This is simplistic; the line is not purely arbitrary:
research shows systematic differences in access to services and
activities above and below the 60% of equivalised median line.
The measure is imperfect, but it is far from useless as a flag
of poverty and social exclusion.
62. Retaining a relative income measure
does not mean that poverty will only be measured in terms of income.
Other measures can also be adopted, as well, which allow a fuller
understanding of the impact that income poverty may have on material
deprivation. However the below 60% of median measure still offers
a valuableand simplegauge of those most likely to
be materially deprived.
Child Tax Credit
63. CPAG supports the objectives of the
Child Tax Credit. This does not mean that CPAG has abandoned its
historic commitment to Child Benefit and the principle that universal
provision is the best way of supporting children. The Child Tax
Credit integrates into one payment financial support that was
previously subject to a means test. The role of Child Benefit
needs to be protected. CPAG believes that:
There should be a minimum income
standard (MIS) for a child, this MIS should be enhanced where
there is extra need, for example, where there is a disability.
The combined value of Child Benefit
(CB) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) should be at least equal to the
Indeed the proportion of the total that consists
of Child Benefit should be maximised. Child Benefit and the combined
total of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit should be up-rated
at least in line with the higher of wage or price inflation. If
Child Benefit is not up-rated along with earnings, the proportion
of means-tested support for children will increase over time.
64. Critics have argued that the seemingly
ad-hoc process of change that led to the Child Tax Credit has
complicated the system of financial support for families. In its
defence, officials suggest that the alternative was to have delayed
measures designed to increase financial support for children (for
example, the abolition of the married couple's allowance and the
replacement with the children's tax credit). The Government did,
of course, have the alternatives of increasing Child Benefit or
existing means-tested benefits.
65. The Child Tax Credit has extended support
to around 100,000 families who had been excluded from means-tested
supportfor example, students and student nurses and families
with savings of over £8,000which is welcomed.
66. The additional £2.5 billion spending,
announced in Budget 2002, was an important political litmus test.
It is also significant that the Opposition did not oppose the
additional support for families with children, despite the fact
that the same Budget included a 1% rise in National Insurance
67. The commitment to up-rate the Child
Tax Credit at least in line with average earnings should be extended
indefinitely. A requirement to up-rate by this method should be
included in primary legislation.
68. The problems with the introduction of
new tax credits have cast a shadow over the new scheme and it
is understandable that confidence in the Inland Revenue's ability
to administer the scheme has been dented. However the publicity
given to the problems may have increased awareness of the new
scheme and increased the number of families applying. The efficiency
of administration and payment will be key to success.
69. Maximising take-up is crucial to the
success of new tax credits. The first official estimates of the
take-up of the Working Families Tax Credit
were published in December 2002. The figures showed that in 2000-01,
up to 600,000 families were entitled to but did not claim WFTC.
The upper estimate of the amount unclaimed was £1.4 billion.
The Social Security Select Committee report into the Integrated
Child Credit noted that take up of the (short-lived) Children's
Tax Credit ("baby credit"), was much lower than anticipated.
70. Initial Inland Revenue statements have
suggested that the take-up of the Child and Working Tax Credit
has been high with 95% of those expected to claim in 2003-04 having
come into receipt by 11 July 2003.
This sounds impressive, but the detail is a little more complex.
The 95% figure appears to have been derived from an estimate of
the number expected to claim in 2003-04about six million.
Given that the 2003 budget report suggested that nine out of 10
families were expected to have an entitlement will have entitlement
the six million figure, is well short of the total number with
71. However, given the significant problems
with administration not all families will be receiving their correct
entitlement. There is the very real risk of significant numbers
of families being over or underpaid as a result of official error.
For those who are underpaid, they are missing out on a legal entitlement
that could assist them and their children. For those overpaid
it remains to be seen how (and whether) the Revenue will try to
re-coup overpayments, something which could place substantial
numbers of families in real hardship and could tarnish the public
perception of the Child Tax Credit. CPAG believes thatconsideration
should be given to writing off over-payments where these occurred
as a result of administrative error. Secondly, in line with a
recent National Association of Citizens Advice Bureau report,
we argue that those who have been overpaid, after a change of
circumstances, who were not able to inform the Inland Revenue
of this due to its own organisational problems, should not to
be penalised for not having done so.
The Social Fund
72. The increases in financial support for
children that the Government has introduced enables families to
better meet normal bills and expenses, but there is ample evidence
that low income families go without basic essential items because
they cannot afford them (see paras 6-9). Lump sum payments have
a role to play in meeting key government objectives such as the
eradication of child poverty, tackling social and financial exclusion
and reducing worklessness.
73. In April 2001 the Social Security Select
Committee published a report on the Social Fund.
The Committee concluded: "We urge the Government . . . to
take a radical look at the Social Fund. So that it may work to
enhance the strategy to reduce child poverty, rather than work
against it . . . We have concluded that the scheme in its present
form needs urgent overhaul and an injection of funds. Without
such action, there is a strong possibility that the wider social
policy objectives of the Government will be endangered".
74. Two and a half years later the Social
Fund has not been overhauled, and no proposals for significant
reform put forward. In its response (which curiously slipped out
during the summer recess),
the Government said that it did not accept that the operation
of the Social Fund worked against wider social policies, such
as the eradication of child poverty.
There was a commitment to keep the fund "under review".
75. Given the overwhelming volume of evidence
highlighting the continued failures of the Social Fund it is surprising
that the Government has been dragging its feet. Responsibility
lies with the Department for Work and Pensions, but the Social
Fund is not a mystery to other parts of government, particularly
76. Officials may feel daunted at how to
fundamentally improve a system which is inherently flawed, but
a government capable of change of the magnitude of new tax credits
should be up to the challenge. The issue and the need for fundamental
reform will not go away.
77. CPAG, in partnership with One Parent
Families and the Family Welfare Association, has put forward a
package of proposals for improving provision for lump sum items
and expenses for families with children,
more consistent with the objectives of eradicating child poverty,
improving the health and educational attainment of children, and
facilitating the move from benefit to paid work. We recommend
a staged approachfull implementation will be determined
by the legislative timetable. The options include:
Child Development Grants payable
at key stages of a child's life. In common with the Sure Start
maternity Grant the payments could be based on "life events"
that generate one-off expenses.
Child Health and Safety Grants payable
when items to maintain the health and safety of children are needed.
A Secure Homes Grant for families
who separate or are homeless (including where domestic violence
An Opportunity Grant which would
streamline existing provision to help parents make the transition
from benefit to paid work.
78. CPAG believes that the Social Fund requires
urgent reform to ensure that it meets the objectives of eradicating
child poverty, improving the health and educational attainment
of children, and facilitating the move from benefit to paid work.
Child Trust Fund
79. In Budget 2003 the Chancellor announced
that children born after September 2002 will be entitled to the
Child Trust Fund. Further details were due to be published by
the Treasury in the summer but, at time of writing, these have
not yet been released.
80. The Government published proposals
to introduce the Child Trust Fund and a "Savings Gateway"
in April 2001. The paper described the role of financial assets
as a "fourth pillar" in the Government's welfare strategy
and as a means of promoting inter-generational mobility "extending
to the children of lower income families the opportunities that
might be taken for granted higher up the income ladder."
81. The objectives of tackling inequality
of wealth, providing assets for all and providing incentives for
low-income households to savewhere they can afford to do
sodeserve support. Under the principle of so-called "progressive
universalism" the initial endowment will be higher for children
in low- income families. Additional payments by the Government
at certain ages may only be made for children in low-incomehouseholds.
Linking the maximum endowment to children in households receiving
the maximum Child Tax Credit would mean that one in three children
will be eligible for the higher payment.
82. CPAG has been concerned about some of
the arguments put forward in support of asset-based welfare, particularly
the claim that evaluation of the Individual Development Accounts,
piloted in the United States since 1997; that "the poor can
save". The Government paper refers to American evidence and
argues that "poverty by itself does not explain the saving
behaviour of lower-income groups . . . [Instead], institutional
factors, such as incentives, information, access and facilitation
. . . [are] more influential than personal characteristics, even
83. Some of the strongest advocates of asset-based
welfare, particularly in the United States and Australia, do so
on the premise that so called "traditional" forms of
welfare, in the form of direct cash payments, have "failed".
The assertion that the poor can save implies that people living
in poverty do have enough to meet their needs; the "problem"
is not a lack of income but a lack of motivation.
84. CPAG believes that the most important
priorities should be fundamental reform of the Social Fund and
further increases in financial support to ensure that families
have the resources they need while raising their children, and
have the capacity to save, not to implicitly assume that this
is already the case.
Education Maintenance Allowance
85. Education maintenance allowances (EMAs)
will be introduced in September 2004. CPAG supports EMAs if they
are in addition to existing benefit and tax credit entitlements.
There remains a concern that Child Benefit could be withdrawn
for the over 16s. This concern may be unfounded: in the 2002 Spending
Review the Chancellor stated that the cost of EMAs would be met
by "lower unemployment". However, the current review
of financial support for over 16s could be the catalyst for revisiting
the funding of EMAs.
86. Without wishing to send hares chasing,
CPAG would strongly oppose the removal of Child Benefit for over
16s. The decision to introduce EMAs nationally was based on the
evaluation of pilot schemes. In none of the pilots was Child Benefit
removed and EMAs paid instead.
87. Balancing "rights with responsibilities"
has been a constant theme of the 1997 and 2001 Labour administrations.
The social security system has been used increasingly to try to
influence behaviour. Conditionality is not new. Parents with care
receiving Income Support face a "benefit penalty" if,
without good reason, they fail to co-operate with the Child Support
Agency. Payment of the Sure Start maternity grant is conditional
on making contact with a health professional.
88. A proposal to remove Child Benefit from
the parents of persistent truants seems to have been shelved.
CPAG strongly opposed the idea and we welcome the fact that there
appear to be no plans for its introduction.
89. CPAG criticised comments made by some
MPs during a debate on the Bill: calls for "weekend prisons"
for bad parents, claims that mothers used their children as benefit
books and a call for misbehaving mothers to be placed in sink
estates by motorways. The government is now proposing to introduce
Housing Benefit sanctions in a Home Office White Paper. The Department
for Work and Pensions has recently consulted on the proposal.
CPAG opposes the proposals along with many other leading voluntary
organisations and charities. The social security system should
not be used as a tool for punishment. Sanctions imposed on families
inevitably have an impact on children. Children in families labelled
as "anti-social" will be at a particularly acute risk
of both hardship and stigma. The DWP consultation gives no consideration
to how the welfare of children in families will be protected.
As a commentator said of welfare reform in the United States the
underlying assumption was that the "behaviour of certain
adults can be changed by making the lives of their children as
wretched as possible."
A political strategy
90. A social security system should be designed
in such a way as to protect personal dignity and privacy. Conditionality
based on personal or family behaviour should not interfere with
entitlement provided that the person fits the relevant conditions
of entitlement to that benefit.
91. The Government has been reluctant to
initiate or engage with a debate about the underlying principles
of tax and benefit reform. Neither has the Government been averse
to making cuts in social security benefits (eg, Lone Parent benefit
and Incapacity Benefit). In his Beverage speech Tony Blair argued
for a mix of "universal and targeted help" but claimed
"the one is not superior or more principled than the other".
Such a debate is essential as Ruth Lister in her submission to
the Select Committee argues that there has to be "a political
as well as a policy strategy" to combat child poverty.
92. The Chancellor, speaking at a CPAG conference
in 2000, recognised the need to engage public opinion when he
called for a "crusade for children". Speaking at the
Labour Party conference in September 2000 the Chancellor said
that the Government would be seeking "a new mandate"
at the next election for the pledge to eradicate child poverty.
The speech appeared to signal an end to the approach described
as "doing good by stealth."
In the event, child poverty was not made an election issue. The
ambitious pledge to lift a further one million children out of
poverty received limited coverage in the Labour Party manifesto.
Nevertheless a few days after the election Robin Cook, then Leader
of the House, claimed that eradicating child poverty was the Government's
"number one priority".
93. The need for public engagement with
and support for tackling child poverty was stated explicitly by
the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Alistair Darling,
in the forward to the consultation document on measuring child
poverty: "The Prime Minister's pledge to eradicate child
poverty is a significant and demanding undertaking . . . But the
Government alone cannot achieve this ambition without public support
over successive Parliaments."
94. A challenge for the Government is to
counter the view that poverty"real poverty"is
a thing of the past. Public opinion is often shaped by outdated,
sometimes sentimental, views and images of what it means to be
poor. The experiences of the past are not used as a touchstone
for what is expected for our health services, education, housing
or quality of life, but often standards of the past are applied
to what it means to be poor today.
95. There has been some progress in the
way the media portrays people living in povertywith the
exception of asylum seekersbut media coverage of poverty
is limited. This may in part be due to the fact that poverty is
not an "adversarial" issue. There is the danger of a
gap between the Government's child poverty pledge and the public's
engagement and interest. Not only is public engagement necessary
but given the difficulty of the task, and the time-scale over
which it is to be delivered there needs to be political consensus
over the goal of ending child poverty by 2020.
Labour market policies
96. The underlying structural causes need
to be addressed. Childhood poverty is brought about by structural
factors: low wages and low benefits. Therefore as well as social
security measures the Government has a role to ensure that the
labour market functions in an equitable fashion. CPAG believes
that an increased minimum wage is an essential element to tackling
97. Improvements in strategies to insure
adequate, affordable, childcare and other forms of support for
working parents, issues on which organisations such as the Daycare
Trust and One Parent Families have campaigned, are important in
ensuring the labour market functions adequate returns for families
98. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has made
an explicit call for direct redistribution to reduce relative
poverty. Work commissioned for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
shows that if the UK economy grows at the same rate in the next
20 years as it did between 1981 and 2000 total growth would be
more than £500 billion. It is suggested that of this only
5%less than £25 billionwould close the "poverty
Households on middle incomes have, over the past 20 years, seen
an increase in income of almost 50% in real terms. Increased,
and explicit, redistribution of resources towards families with
children is essential to meet the challenge of eradicating child
99. CPAG supports the goal of eradicating
child poverty by 2020. For those who have campaigned for an end
to child poverty for many years, this is an exciting time. There
is a real chance for government to make substantial improvements
in the lives and the opportunities of the UK's children. This
submission has discussed the extent of child poverty together
with the impacts that it has on the lives of poor children. It
has discussed the Government's record, supporting the level of
progress that has been made and arguing for more. This inquiry,
together with the 2004 Spending Review and DWP's consultation
on measuring child poverty, provides a good opportunity to make
more progress. The task is certainly a formidable one, and one
that requires continued policy reform and adequate resources to
tackle child poverty. Nevertheless it can be done.
30 September 2003
301 Reproduced in Walker, R (ed), "Ending child
poverty-Popular welfare for the 21st century?", The Policy
Press, 1999. Back
HM Treasury, Press Release, 143/01, 13 December 2001. Back
"Defeating the five giants", speech given at Toynbee
Hall, 13 September 2002. Back
Townsend, P, Poverty in the United Kingdom: a survey of household
resources and standards of living, Penguin, 1979, p31. Back
See Department for Work and Pensions, "Opportunities
for All", Fifth Annual Report 2003, The Stationery Office,
National Statistics, "Households Below Average Income An
analysis of the income distribution from 1994-95-2001-02"
Department for Work and Pensions, 2003, pp 53-4, Table 4.4 and
4.5. Measure is After Housing Costs. Back
Bradshaw, J (ed), "Poverty: the outcomes for children",
Family Policy Studies Centre and Economic and Social Research
Council, 2001. Back
See Gordon, D, Adelman, L, Ashworth, K, Bradshaw, J, Levitas,
R, Middleton, S, Pantazis, C, Patsios, D, Payne, S, Townsend,
P and Williams, J, "Poverty and social exclusion in Britain",
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2000. Back
Adelman, L, Middleton, S and Ashworth, K, "Britain's Poorest
Children" Centre for Research in Social Policy and Save the
Children, 2003. Back
The measure used was 40% of median household income before housing
costs. A before housing costs measure was the only income measure
available in the PSE survey: "An after housing costs measure
is, arguably, a better measure of the disposable income households
have to spend and it would have been our preferred measure".
Ibid. p 13. Back
Meaning a child going without one or more "necessities"
because they could not be afforded. Back
The parents going without two or more "necessities"
because they could not be afforded. Back
Vegeris, S and Perry, J, "Families and children in 2001:
Living standards and the children", Research Report 190,
Department for Work and Pensions, 2003. Back
ibid pp 84-85. Back
ibid p 138. Back
ibid p 90. Back
Palmer, G, Rahman, M and Kenway, P, "Monitoring poverty
and social exclusion 2002", New Policy Institute and Joseph
Rowntree Foundation, 2002, p 39. Back
Grayling,T, Hallam, K, Graham, D, Anderson, R and Glaister S,
"Streets ahead-Safe and liveable streets for children",
IPPR, 2002. Back
Children's Play Council, "Making the Case for Play: Building
policies and strategies for school-aged children", Briefing
1, April 2002. Back
Bradshaw, J (ed), "Poverty: the outcomes for children",
Family Policy Studies Centre and Economic and Social Research
Council, 2001, p 41. Back
Department of Health, "Tackling Health Inequalities: A Cross-Cutting
review", 2002. p 27, Figures 4 and 5. Back
Bradshaw, J (ed), "The Well-being of Children in the UK",
University of York and Save the Children 2002, p 37. Back
Acheson, D (chair), "Independent Inquiry into inequalities
in health report", 1998, Chapter 7. Back
Palmer, G, Rahman, M and Kenway, P, "Monitoring poverty
and social exclusion" 2002, New Policy Institute and Joseph
Rowntree Foundation, 2002, p 38. Back
Medical Research Council, Press Release, 26 January 2001; Original
study published in the British Medical Journal, "Birth weight
and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort",
26 January 2001. Back
BBC News online, "Tiny babies go on to flunk exams",
25 March 2003. The national average for children achieving five
or more subjects at grade C or above in 1997 was 45%. The normal
birth weight group achieved 44%, the low birth weight group just
over 38%. Back
Jefferis, B, Power, C and Hertzman, C, "Birth weight, childhood
socio-economic environment, and cognitive development in the 1958
British birth cohort study", British Medical Journal, Volume
325, 10 August 2002. Back
Institute of Child Health, "Bigger babies are brighter",
Press release, 9 August 2003; www.ich.ucl.ac.uk. Back
Infant Feeding Survey, Department of Health, 2001, p 20, Table
Dowler, E, Turner, S and Dobson, B, "Poverty bites food,
health and poor families", CPAG, 2001, p 56. Back
Acheson, D (chair), op cit. Back
Middleton, S, Ashworth, K and Walker, R, "Family Fortunes
Pressures on parents and children in the 1990s", CPAG and
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1994children, Briefing 1, April 2002. Back
Tanner, E, Bennett, F, Churchill, H, Ferres, G, Tanner, S and
Wright, S, "The Cost of Education-a Local Study", CPAG,
Gill, O and Wellington, T, Wish you were here: Child poverty
and exclusion in the summer holidays, Barnardo's, 2003. Back
See Gordon, D et al op cit p 34, Table 9. Back
Adelman, L, Middleton, S and Ashworth, K, op cit p 22. Back
Middleton, S and Shropshire, J, "Small Expectations: Learning
to be poor?" Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1999. Back
Farrell and O'Connor, Low-income families and household spending,
Research Report 192, DWP, 2003. Back
ibid p 59. Back
Storey, P and Chamberlain, R, Improving the Take-Up of Free School
Meals, Research Report RR270, CPAG and Department for Education
and Employment, 2001. Back
ibid p 28. Back
ibid p 23. Back
Ridge, T, "Childhood Poverty and Social Exclusion-From a
child's perspective", 2002. Back
Finance Committee, "Report on Cross-Cutting Expenditure
in relation to Children in Poverty", Scottish Parliament,
SP Paper 4, 2003 para 142. Back
Defined as living below 60% of the median after housing costs
equivalised income. Back
See Clark, T and Goodman, A, "Election 2001 Living
Standards under Labour", Election briefing note 4, May 2001,
p 8. Back
National Statistics, "Households Below Average Income An
analysis of the income distribution from 1994-95-2001-02",
Department for Work and Pensions, 2003, p 156, table D5.1. Back
ibid p 160, table D9.1. Back
Unique Innocent Research Centre, "A League Table of Child
Poverty in Rich Nations", 2000. Back
CPAG, "Child Poverty: An end in sight?" Press release,
26 February 2001. Back
Walker, R (ed), op cit. Back
HM Treasury, "Tackling child poverty: giving every child
the best possible start in life", 2001. Back
For example, in "Opportunity for All", published September
2000: the Government stated "tax and benefit reforms announced
in the last four Budgets of this Parliament will lift 1.2 million
children out of poverty". Department for Work and Pensions,
"Opportunity for All: One Year On-making a difference",
The Stationery Office, Chapter 1, para 8. Back
Labour Party, "Ambitions for Britain" Election manifesto,
p 27. Back
Department for Work and Pensions, "Opportunity for All-
Making Progress", Cm 5260, 2001 p 38. Back
HM Treasury, "Budget 2003", HC 500, p 105, para 5.10. Back
Finance Committee, Scottish Parliament, 2nd Report (Session 2)
"Report on Cross-Cutting Expenditure in relation to Children
in Poverty", 2003. Back
ibid para 26. Back
ibid p 38. Back
Scottish Executive, "Closing the Opportunity Gap",
Scottish Budget for 2003-06. Back
Committee of the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; CRC/C/15/Add.188,
9 October 2002. Back
ibid para 11. Back
ibid para 46. Back
Department of Health, "Tackling Health Inequalities-A Programme
for Action", July 2003. Back
Watt, G, "The inverse care law today", The Lancet,
Volume 360, 2002. Back
Finance Committee, op cit, para 37. Back
Scottish Executive, "Making it Work Together: A Programme
for Government", 1999, p 9. Back
Scottish Executive, "Social Justice Annual Report Scotland
2002", 2002, p 14. Back
Scottish Executive, "Better communities in Scotland: Closing
the Gap" June 2002. Back
Welsh Assembly Government, Third Report on Social Inclusion in
Wales, March 2003. Back
Mayor of London, "London Divided: Income inequality and
poverty in the capital", Greater London Authority November
Greater London Authority "Tackling Poverty in London: Consultation
paper", April 2003. Back
Quoted by UKPHA, "Reducing Child Poverty: Getting the Message
Across", UK Public Health Association, 12 May 2003. Back
See LGA, "Quids for Kids Good practice guide on benefits
and tax credits take up work for families with children",
Department for Work and Pensions, Measuring child poverty consultation:
Preliminary conclusions, 2003. Back
Social Security Select Committee, "Second Report: Integrated
Child Credit", House of Commons, 2001, para 24; Social Security
Select Committee, "Third Report: The Social Fund", House
of Commons, 2001, para 114. Back
Saunders, P, "Using Budget standards to assess the well-being
of families", Social Policy Research Centre,1998, p 12. Back
See for instance Parker, H (ed), "Low Cost but Acceptable:
A minimum income standard for the UK: Families with young children",
Bradshaw, J (ed), "The Well-being of Children in the UK",
Save the Children and the University of York, 2002, p 19, Table
See Vegeris and Perry op cit, p 86. Back
Inland Revenue, "Working Families' Tax Credit Estimates
of Take-Up in 2000-01", 2002. Back
ibid p 4 Tables 1 and 2. Back
Social Security Select Committee, "Second Report: Integrated
Child Credit", House of Commons, 2001, para 87. Back
See Inland Revenue, "Further evidence of the success
of new tax credits: publication of new statistics", press
release, 10 September 2003. Back
See Inland Revenue, "Millions getting Child and Working
Tax Credit", press release, 8 August 2003. Back
HM Treasury, "Budget 2003", HC 500 April 2003, p 106,
para 5.15. Back
Citizens Advice Bureau, "New tax credits CAB client"
experience of the first two months', CAB evidence briefing, August
2003, p 16. Back
Social Security Select Committee, "Third Report: The Social
Fund", House of Commons, 2001. Back
CPAG was critical of the timing of the Government's response-see
CPAG, "Poverty", Issue 110 Autumn 2001, Editorial p
Report on the Social Fund, Reply by the Government to the Third
Report of the Social Security Committee, Session 2000-01, HC 232,
Department for Work and Pensions, July 2001. Back
Howard, M, "Lump Sums Roles for the Social Fund in Ending
Child Poverty", National Council for One Parent Families,
Family Welfare Association and Child Poverty Action Group, 2003. Back
HM Treasury, "Savings and assets for all, the modernisation
of Britain's tax and benefit system, Number Eight". Back
ibid p 1, para 1.5. Back
ibid p 11, box 3.2. Back
Department for Work and Pensions, "Housing Benefit Sanctions
and Anti-Social Behaviour-A Consultation", August 2003. Back
Reproduced from Deacon, A, Justifying Conditionality: (Re)thinking
the unthinkable in welfare reform, Paper presented to the Annual
Conference of the Social Policy Association, July 2003; quote
by Daniel Moynihan. Back
Walker, R (ed), op cit. Back
Brown, G, speech to Blackpool conference, 25 September 2000. Back
The title of an article see Lister, R, "New Economy"
volume 8, 2001, pp 65-70. Back
Department for Work and Pensions, "Measuring child poverty-A
consultation Document", April 2002. Back
Darton, D, Hirsh, D and Strelitz, J, "Tackling disadvantage",
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2003. Back