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Poverty: Children

Question for HM Treasury

UIN 121206, tabled on 5 January 2018

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of rising household debt on levels of child poverty.

Answered on

15 January 2018

The proportion of people in absolute poverty is at record lows. Since 2010 there are 600,000 fewer people, with 200,000 fewer children, in absolute poverty. Work is the most effective way out of poverty and unemployment has not been lower since 1975. We are helping people retain more of what they earn by raising the personal allowance, successive increases mean that a basic rate tax payer will be £1,075 better off in 2018-19 than in 2010-11, and to help with the cost of living we are also freezing tax on fuel and alcohol. To support working parents we are introducing Tax Free Childcare, providing support of up to £2000 per year for each child, and are doubling free childcare available for 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week, saving in total around £5,000 a year per child. We are also banning letting agent fees and have published a draft bill to require Ofgem to implement a cap on standard variable and default energy tariffs. However, there is more to do and the government is committed to delivering a country that works for everyone. Last April, the government published its “Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families” strategy. This focused on measures that tackle the root causes of poverty, including specifically problem debt.

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