The Welfare Reform and Work Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, proposes to remove all income and material deprivation measures from the Child Poverty Act.
By doing so, the government is acting against the advice of 99% of respondents to its own consultation on the matter, find Nick Roberts and Kitty Stewart.
Set against high profile discussions of proposed changes to the tax credit system, another government reform with serious implications for low income families has received relatively little attention. Under proposals in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, the current suite of income-based child poverty measures and targets in the Child Poverty Act 2010 are to be axed and replaced with new measures of worklessness and of educational attainment at age 16. In addition, duties and responsibilities on national and local government to reduce child poverty will be removed, and the Act itself will be retrospectively renamed the Life Chances Act 2010. The government has also announced that it will “develop a range of other measures and indicators of root causes of poverty, including family breakdown, debt and addiction.”
There is very strong support for the existing measures, and near universal support for keeping income poverty and material deprivation at the heart of poverty measurement.
We think this needs to be clear in public debate as the changes to the Child Poverty Act go through Parliament.
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