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Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 19 November 2012

Business, Innovation and Skills

Regulation of Business

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Michael Fallon): I would like to inform the House that I am announcing today a doubling of the rate at which Whitehall Departments must cut the burdens their regulation places on business.

The Government are dedicated to enabling businesses to grow and create jobs, helping Britain compete globally. To achieve this, we must remove any unnecessary regulatory burdens that hold back growth and stifle enterprise.

Since January 2011, Whitehall Departments have been expected to avoid increases in regulation, under “one-in, one-out”. This ambition has not only been met but exceeded, reducing net costs on business by around £850 million. It has worked alongside the red tape challenge, which will identify 3,000 regulations to be scrapped or reduced, and the focus on enforcement initiative which is examining where inappropriate or excessive enforcement of regulation needs to be addressed. But even more is needed to remove red tape from business.

From January 2013, the current “one-in, one-out” constraint has required Government Departments to balance the costs of new regulation with deregulation that creates equivalent savings for business. This will be replaced with a “one-in, two-out” rule that whenever a regulation creates costs, twice as much saving must be found by scrapping or simplifying regulation. As under “one-in, one-out”, all cost and benefit calculations under “one-in, two-out” will continue to be validated by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee to ensure the credibility and robustness of the system.

“One-in, two-out” will be a new system, and Departments will not be able to use previous achievements to compensate for regulation introduced in the second half of the Parliament. This means that every Department, including those with good records to date, will have an even tougher constraint on new regulation. Additionally, the few Departments which have not met “one-in, one-out” to date will have to use the second half of the Parliament to make up lost ground. By the end of the Parliament, they will be expected both to have achieved “one-in, two-out” from January 2013 and to have introduced enough deregulation to balance out the cost of any regulation they introduced over the last two years.

This new approach is intended to ensure that regulation is the last resort for Government Departments. The pressure it creates on Whitehall Departments will mean that each new regulation is considered to ensure that it is necessary and delivered in a way which avoids unnecessary business burdens.

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Balance of Competences Review

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): I wish to inform the House that, further to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Office oral statement launching the review of the Balance of Competences in July and the written statement on the progress of the review in 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 46WS, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published its call for evidence for the internal market synoptic report.

The internal market report will be completed by summer 2013 and will cover the overall application and effect of the EU internal market, often also known as the single market. The internal market of the EU is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons: the so-called four freedoms. It will explore the current state of competence in the internal market as a whole and will assess the strength of arguments for the need for other areas of competence to enable the internal market to operate effectively.

The call for evidence period will last 12 weeks. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will draw together the evidence and policy analysis into a first draft, which will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication in summer 2013.

The report will focus on the “classic” single market issues: the EU as an area without internal frontiers designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons (the “four freedoms”). It will look at articles 26 to 66 and 114 to 118 of the treaty of the functioning of the European Union (TFEU), using these articles and the jurisprudence emanating from them as a legal base.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of broad questions on which contributors are asked to focus. Interested parties are invited to provide evidence with regard to political, economic, social and technological factors. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report in summer 2013 and will be available on the new Government website: www.gov.uk.

The Department will pursue an active engagement process, consulting widely across Parliament and its Committees, businesses, the devolved Administrations and civil society in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review. As the review is to be objective and evidence-based, encouraging a wide range of interested parties to contribute will ensure a high yield of valuable information.

The result of the report will be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis of the wider functioning of the internal market. It will determine how the four freedoms operate together to create an effective single market and ultimately what this means for the United Kingdom. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership; and it will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The report will not produce specific policy recommendations.

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I am placing this document and the Call for Evidence in the Libraries of both Houses. They will also be published on the BIS website and accessible through the balance of competences review pages on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.


Public Service Pension Reform

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): The Government have previously committed to reforming the Fair Deal policy and to delivery of this by offering access to public service pension schemes to staff who are compulsorily transferred out of the public sector.

The Government have today published a response to the consultation on the Fair Deal policy, which sets out further detail on the reformed Fair Deal policy for future staff transfers.

The document also contains some further questions for consultation, which will explore how Fair Deal should apply to those employees that have already been transferred out under existing Fair Deal when contracts are retendered. The publication also contains draft guidance setting out further details on how the policy will work in practice.

The Government welcome contributions from all interested groups.

The consultation document has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and can be found on the HM Treasury website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_fair_deal_policy_ pensions _publicsector.htm.

The consultation will close on 11 February 2013.

The Government have also published two policy papers which set out further detail on the Government’s policy on actuarial valuation of public service pension schemes, and the operation of the employer cost-cap in the public service schemes. These documents have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and can be found on the HM Treasury website at:


Communities and Local Government

Parliamentary Written Question (Correction)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Brandon Lewis): I wish to clarify a point on methodology used in an answer to a parliamentary question, made in the last Session.

In the answer of 24 October 2011, Official Report, column 59W given by my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill), the figure given for the average cost of processing the payment of an invoice, based on data for the last 12 months, was £2.62.

For clarity, this figure does not include staff costs.

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Energy and Climate Change

EU Environmental Council

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr Edward Davey): Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Resource Management, the Local Environment and Environmental Science and I represented the UK at the Environment Council in Luxembourg on 25 October.

The Council held an orientation debate on ship recycling. The UK together with other member states said that close alignment with the Hong Kong convention was vital to ensure proportionality and enforceability. The majority of member states believed the issues of penalties and access to justice should be decided by member states in line with the subsidiarity principle.

Next, Ministers adopted conclusions on Rio+20: the outcome and follow-up to the United Nations conference on sustainable development 2012. A majority of member states, including the UK, backed the presidency text as drafted and following negotiations, a compromise was tabled. The European Commission tabled a declaration underlining its view that there is no need to review the sustainable development strategy as work is being taken forward under the Europe 2020 strategy but that it is open to plugging sectoral gaps in the 2020 strategy.

Following the morning session I attended a ministerial lunch hosted by the presidency. This lunch focused on climate change. Discussion included the outcome of the pre-COP 18/CMP 8 ministerial meeting on climate change held in Korea, which I also attended, and climate finance.

In the afternoon session Council conclusions were also adopted on the preparations for the 18th session of the conference of the parties to the United Nations framework convention on climate change. My ministerial colleagues and I focused our discussions on paragraphs 14 (on the EU QELRO—quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives); 16 (AAUs—assigned amount units); and 29 (climate finance).

Under paragraph 14 (EU QELRO), consistent with the coalition’s commitment to work for an increase in the EU’s CO2 emissions reduction target, I suggested amending text to reflect the possibility of a QELRO that corresponds to an EU -30% target as well as the current one (which corresponds to an EU target of -20%). This would have sent a more positive signal on EU ambition ahead of COP18. However there was not a great deal of appetite for this inclusion among other member states, so I ceded the point, mindful that the EU’s offer to move to a 30% target is stated clearly in paragraph 10 of the conclusions.

There was a great deal of discussion on how AAUs should be treated as the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol comes to an end and the EU prepares to move into the second commitment period from 1 January 2013. I emphasised the need to ensure environmental integrity and, therefore, was not willing to cede that strict limits need to be applied in some manner across the carry-over of AAUs to, and the domestic use and trading of these carried-over AAUs in, the second commitment period. The presidency repeatedly proposed compromise texts aimed at bridging differences but these were rejected. As there was no consensus on any

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new text on AAUs the presidency reverted to the text we agreed at the March Council, which emphasises the need for environmental integrity.

Several member states emphasised the importance of the EU having a strong position on climate finance before Doha. The UK supported inclusion of references to previous ECOFIN conclusions but clarified that we should not intrude on ECOFIN territory in these Doha conclusions. The presidency presented compromise text on this paragraph, which signalled our ongoing consideration of climate finance and the need for continuation of finance provision post-2012. The paragraph was adopted.

In other business, updates were provided on access to genetic resources and the benefits arising from their use; hazardous substances in textiles; the mutual acceptance of low emission zones vignettes and the exchange of best practices. On EU legislation for meeting environmental objectives—the example of air quality, the UK highlighted that new legislation was not necessarily the answer, a greater focus was needed on ensuring that current legislation was delivered.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Conflict Resources

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I, together with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Defence, wish to inform the House about our plans for funding conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacekeeping activities for financial years 2012-13 and 2014-15, via the tri-departmental conflict pool.

We intend that this funding be spent within the strategic context set out by the building stability overseas strategy (BSOS). We reported progress on implementing the BSOS in our written ministerial statement of 16 July 2012, Official Report, column 103 WS.

Delivering this strategy is an important priority for the Government. Enhancing genuine stability by supporting the development of societies with strong and legitimate institutions which can manage tensions peacefully is central to our national interests. We have improved our early warning analysis, to better identify instability risks upstream and develop effective interventions. We have also enhanced the UK’s ability to provide a rapid response where that is needed. The co-ordinated use of our highly respected diplomatic, defence and development expertise is central to delivering these priorities. The National Security Council ensures we target our efforts, including our joint conflict resources, on the highest UK priorities. The Government’s commitment is reflected in the increasing size of the conflict resources settlement for the remainder of the spending review period. We are under no illusions about the size of the challenges, for example in the middle east and in Africa. But we are equally clear that the UK can help make a difference, as we have done in Somalia.

Our written ministerial statement of 5 April 2011, Official Report, column 57WS, provided details of the total settlement for conflict resources for the spending review period, covering both the conflict pool and the peacekeeping budget. In financial year 2012-13, the overall settlement will increase to £644 million, rising

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further during the remainder of the spending review period. The settlement continues to provide a mix of official development assistance (ODA) funding and non-ODA resources.

The peacekeeping budget—from which we meet our obligatory and assessed international peacekeeping costs—has first call on the settlement. The settlement provides £374 million for the peacekeeping budget each year. If costs exceed this figure, they are met from the conflict pool. For financial year 2012-13, we have estimated our obligatory peacekeeping costs to be some £435 million. An additional allocation of £61 million has been made, therefore, to the peacekeeping budget from the conflict pool. In-year monitoring allows us to make adjustments, when necessary, to the balance of resources among budgets.

An allocation of £435 million to peacekeeping leaves a balance of some £209 million available for the conflict pool for financial year 2012-13. The allocation round for this financial year has provided an important opportunity to align conflict pool resources with the BSOS aims of early warning, rapid crisis prevention and upstream conflict prevention. Programme allocations have been decided on their ability to deliver results on the ground against these objectives, with a tight focus on the highest priorities, where the risks are high, where UK interests are most at stake and where we know we can have an impact. Due to the unpredictability of conflict programming we have over-committed initial allocations to ensure we fully utilise the resources.

In the BSOS we said that the UK needed to be better able to respond rapidly to unexpected conflict risks. The new early action facility (EAF) helps us do that. The EAF provides a guaranteed, flexible funding resource of £20 million each year for the remainder of the spending review period to respond rapidly to early warnings of conflict and emerging opportunities to prevent conflict. Potential uses include funding a short-term surge in UK effort, support for peace negotiations or new peacebuilding opportunities. The EAF is already being used for projects in Syria, Libya and Somalia.

We have also introduced provision for sustained, multi-year funding. This is an important step forward, providing predictability to build long-term relationships where needed and to deliver greater value for money. For some programmes we have set firm multi-year allocations; in others, where medium-term perspectives are less clear, the allocations in the outer years of the spending review period are partial or indicative.

In line with priorities identified in the BSOS, we are aiming to increase the proportion of conflict pool activity focused on upstream prevention, including by supporting free, transparent and inclusive political settlements; working with Governments to develop effective and accountable security and justice systems; and building the capacity of communities, regional and international institutions to resolve conflicts.

Conflict Pool Allocations for Financial Years 2012-13 through to 2014-15
 Financial Year 2012-13Financial Year 2013-14Financial Year 2014-15





South Asia


8.1 (20)

7.3 (30)

Middle East and North Africa


10 (24.1)

10 (26.8)

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21.8 (40)

21.8 (39.2)

Wider Europe


28 (34.9)

28 (34.9)

Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships




Stabilisation Unit




Early Action Facility





210.1 (225.6)

142.2 (211.4)


Overall Conflict Settlement




Figures without brackets are firm allocations. Bracketed figures are indicative. The breakdown between peacekeeping and conflict pool is not yet determined for financial year 2013-14 and additional resources are expected to be transferred to the conflict pool in financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15.

In financial year 2012-13, Afghanistan will remain the single largest allocation at £69.4 million, as part of our continued contribution to achieve a stable, viable Afghan state. The allocation will subsequently reduce over the spending review period, in line with the UK’s transition planning in Helmand province.

Funding for the south Asia programme will largely focus on Pakistan and its neighbours, including improving relations and border management between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This programme will increase significantly over the spending review period. The programme will also work to reduce the risk of renewed conflict in both Nepal and Sri Lanka and instability in the Maldives.

The Africa programme has been allocated £42.8 million in financial year 2012-13. This allows an increase in funds to support additional work in Somalia and Sudan and south Sudan. Partial allocations for the outer years at this stage will also focus on these priority countries and ongoing capacity building work in African institutions.

In response to the Arab spring, we intend to increase resources to the middle east and north Africa region over the remainder of the spending review period. We are allocating £23.7 million for financial year 2012-13, with increasing indicative allocations for both financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15. We will expand the range of countries where conflict pool activity takes place to include more activity in north Africa and the Gulf. Allocations for the outer years will be confirmed following further analysis. The early action facility will ensure we have the financial agility to respond to urgent needs as they emerge, including in Syria, but also elsewhere.

Allocations for wider Europe, covering the western Balkans, Caucasus and central Asia have been increased to reflect a stronger UK commitment to the EU-led military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The allocation will remain broadly constant over the rest of the spending period. This programme also covers costs associated with the UK’s military contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, at £18.3 million a year.

In line with the importance highlighted in the BSOS of working with international partners to achieve our objectives, we are increasing funding for the strengthening alliances and partnerships programme to £8 million in

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financial years 2012-13 with small further increases thereafter. Resources will help improve the performance of UN bodies and regional organisations and to support our work to prevent sexual violence in conflict.

The conflict pool also provides funding for the tri-departmentally owned stabilisation unit. The reduced allocation of £10.2 million for financial year 2012-13 reflects efficiency savings. Allocations for the remainder of the spending review period are indicative at this stage, pending work on restructuring and refocusing the unit, following a review earlier this year.

Our Departments will continue to improve the impact and efficiency of the pool, taking into account recent reviews by the National Audit Office and the Independent Commission on Aid Impact.

We will continue to update the House on our use of these resources.


Judicial Review

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling): I am today announcing a review of the judicial review process.

Judicial review is a critical means of holding the Executive to account, ensuring that decisions are lawful. However, there has been a huge growth in the use of judicial review, which has expanded far beyond what was originally intended. In 1974 there were 160 applications for judicial review, but by 1998 this had grown to around 4,500 applications, and to around 11,000 by 2011. In 2011, for every application for permission to bring a judicial review that was granted, five were refused (a higher proportion was refused in immigration and asylum cases). In those cases where permission was granted, an even smaller proportion was successful.

Much of this growth is the result of an increase in applications to review decisions in immigration and asylum cases, but judicial review is also used as a means of challenging other types of decisions, for example, in planning matters, in large infrastructure projects, in procurement exercises and in other key reform programmes.

The Government are concerned about the burdens that this growth has placed on stretched public services. This can lead to unnecessary costs and lengthy delays, and may in some cases stifle innovation and frustrate much needed reforms, including those aimed at stimulating growth and promoting economic recovery.

The Government therefore intend to seek views on a package of options designed to tackle these problems. This package will include shortening time limits in certain cases, restricting the opportunities for an oral reconsideration of the application for permission in certain circumstances, and introducing new fees. The purpose of this is not to deny or restrict access to justice, but to provide for a more balanced and practicable approach, ensuring that weak, frivolous and unmeritorious cases are identified early, and that legitimate claims are brought quickly and efficiently to a resolution. In this way, we can ensure that the right balance is struck between reducing the burdens on public services, and protecting access to justice and the rule of law.

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Commission on Devolution in Wales

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr David Jones): The Government established the Commission on Devolution in Wales (the “Silk Commission”) in October 2011 with the support of the Welsh Government and all the parties in the National Assembly for Wales.

The Commission’s remit is divided into two parts. I can inform the House that the Commission has today published a report on part I of its remit. The report. “Empowerment and Responsibility: Financial Powers to Strengthen Wales”, makes recommendations on the devolution of fiscal powers to the National Assembly for Wales.

I welcome publication of the report and have placed copies in the Library of the House. The Government will carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations and respond in due course.

The Commission will now turn its attention to part II of its remit, in which it will review the powers of the National Assembly for Wales. I wish to inform the House of changes to the membership of the Commission for part II. I am making two new appointments to the Commission to replace commissioners who are standing down: Helen Molyneux, chief executive of New Law Solicitors, Cardiff, is joining the Commission as an independent member in place of Dyfrig John CBE, following a recommendation by the Commission, and Jane Davidson is the Welsh Labour party’s nominee in place of Sue Essex.

I have also appointed Trevor Glyn Jones CVO as an additional independent member to ensure representation on the Commission from north Wales for its part II work. Mr Jones recently retired as Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, and all four party leaders in the Assembly have agreed his appointment.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Esther McVey): I wish to announce today measures to strengthen and improve the Access to Work scheme.

Access to Work helps over 30,000 disabled people each year retain and enter employment. It provides valuable support such as help with travel to work, purchase of specialist equipment and support workers. Last year the Government spent £93 million on this highly effective and well regarded programme.

Following Liz Sayce’s review of specialist disability employment programmes, “Getting in, staying in and getting on” the Government have already announced significant improvements to Access to Work, including an additional £15 million over this spending review period, availability of the scheme to young disabled people undertaking work experience under the Youth Contract, and a targeted marketing campaign. On 4 July we announced that we were establishing an expert panel, chaired by Mike Adams, to help us take forward some of the recommendations in Liz Sayce’s report, and to

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provide advice on the further transformation of the programme. I am grateful to Mike Adams and the panel for their advice.

Today, I can announce that the panel has completed the first phase of its work, and that we will be implementing a number of changes between now and March 2013 aimed at further strengthening the programme.

I would like to announce a number of changes aimed at streamlining the application process for individuals who already have a good understanding of their needs, and experience of receiving this type of support:

We will introduce a fast-track assessment process so individuals who already know their support requirements will move swiftly through their application.

We will make it easier to transfer equipment so that individuals can move more easily between employers with their special aids and equipment.

We will allow individuals to use their disabled students allowance assessment information as part of the Access to Work assessment process.

Access to Work aims to increase levels of personalisation and to promote independence where ever possible and appropriate, so in line with this:

Access to Work will aim to find the most appropriate independent travel to work option to make each individual aware of all available options, such as travel buddies, travel training, or adaptations to a vehicle, where appropriate. I wish to make it clear that there will be no withdrawal of taxi support for individuals for whom this is the most appropriate and independent travel option.

Access to Work will strengthen the support agreement letter to place more emphasis on individually tailored travel plans so all individuals will have a personally tailored solution in their agreement letter taking account of all available travel options.

We will invite disabled people’s user-led organisations to produce innovative employment related peer support proposals to support disabled individuals using Access to Work. Any proposals will then be assessed before being taken forward. This will mean that individuals accessing Access to Work will have the opportunity to benefit from peer support alongside their standard package of support.

Access to Work has an important role to play in facilitating an open, constructive and productive relationship between employer and employee. In line with the expert panel’s advice, we will introduce changes that strengthen Access to Work’s ability to perform this role:

Access to Work will amend its guidance and products to ensure that employers are made aware of when and how they will play a part in the application process.

Access to Work will ensure that its advisers consistently act as a catalyst to encourage employers to think of creative, individually tailored adjustments for every disabled employee, for example, by using case studies with employers to bring potential solutions alive.

Access to Work will further up-skill advisers to work more constructively with employers to deliver the most appropriate adjustments in order to ensure that their disabled employees are supported as effectively as possible.

I would also like to announce two further changes aimed at facilitating the relationship between employer and employee. Access to Work has, since 2010, operated a list of standard equipment it would not normally expect to fund. The list has not, however, always operated as effectively as it might have done, and may have discouraged some applications. Consequently, we will cease

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to operate this list and instead Access to Work advisers will work constructively with employer and employee to identify where Access to Work can assist.

I would also like to announce today that, whilst the principle of sharing costs of adjustments between employer and Access to Work will remain in place for medium-sized and large employers, we will remove cost share for those employing between 10 and 49 people. This brings these relatively small businesses in line with provisions that already exist for micro businesses.

I would like to emphasise that these changes are aimed at making Access to Work more responsive and easier to use, especially for small businesses. Under the Equality Act, employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. These changes will not mean that the tax payer picks up the bill for reasonable adjustments that others should be making.

Finally, I would like to announce further help for disabled people wishing to establish their own business through the new enterprise allowance (NEA), which provides valuable support for aspiring jobseekers wishing to start up their own business. From 3 December we will pilot extending Access to Work to eligible disabled people undertaking business start up activity on the NEA scheme in the Merseyside region.

Subject to effective operation in Merseyside, we will aim to roll out the measure nationally in the new year.

The Access to Work expert panel has already moved on to the second, wider phase of their work and are considering how the system can be further personalised, how the scheme could support young people who are moving from education into employment, and how it can work more effectively for employers of all sizes, and those who are self-employed.

Collectively these changes represent a significant step forward for this effective programme, and a step closer to our goal of delivering disability employment support fit for the 21st century. I now look forward to the next

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phase of our work on this programme to further enhance the support that we can provide to help more disabled people get into, and remain in employment.

Measuring Child Poverty (Consultation)

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Iain Duncan Smith): On Thursday 15 November the Government laid before Parliament and published “Measuring Child Poverty: A consultation on better measures of child poverty”. The Command Paper is available online at:


The consultation will run until 15 February 2013.

The consultation is in three parts. It reaffirms the Government’s commitment to ending child poverty and makes the case for a better measure, examines what the dimensions of a new measure might be and explores a number of design questions.

The most recent statistics showed 300,000 children moved out of relative income poverty. However, this was largely due to a fall in the median income nationally that pushed the poverty line down; absolute poverty remained unchanged and children who were “moved out” of poverty were no better off than before.

Family income remains an important part of how we consider child poverty, but income alone is not enough. The intention is to design a multi-dimensional measure that includes but goes beyond income.

The consultation proposes eight dimensions; worklessness, unmanageable debt, poor housing, parental skills, access to quality education, family stability and parental health.

Once the consultation has closed, the Government will consider how to take forward multi-dimensional measurement of child poverty and will respond to the consultation in due course.