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Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL1354, tabled on 5 February 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce child poverty levels.

Answered on

13 February 2020

This Government is committed to delivering a sustainable, long-term solution to poverty in all its forms. Tackling child poverty requires an approach that goes beyond one that focuses on income alone to one that addresses the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and improves long-term outcomes for families and children.

Through Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families, a copy of which is attached, we set out detailed evidence on the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and their impact on the outcomes of children in families where none of the parents are working. We also set out nine indicators to track progress in the areas that matter, including two statutory measures of parental worklessness and educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to children’s outcomes.

There is clear evidence that children in working households are not only less likely to grow up in poverty – their life chances are also significantly better. We will therefore continue to reform the welfare system so that it works with the tax system and the labour market to support employment and higher pay. At the heart of our reforms is Universal Credit, which is designed to help people move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings. Once fully implemented, Universal Credit will inject in excess of £2bn more into the working age welfare system, helping families in the greatest need.

Promoting full-time work through work incentives is a key feature of this approach, reinforced by the National Living Wage and the rising Personal Tax Allowance, which work together to promote independence from benefits.