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Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 120622, tabled on 8 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government Response to the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2016, what steps her Department has taken to set up accountability mechanisms for the eradication of child poverty by (a) re-establishing targets with a set time frame, (b) measurable indicators and (c) regular monitoring and reporting on child poverty reduction.

Answered on

14 February 2022

The child poverty targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 were abolished in 2016 and we have no plans to reintroduce them. We believe that an approach to tackling child poverty focused primarily on meeting income-based targets, can drive action that focuses primarily on moving the incomes for those ‘just in poverty’ just above a ‘poverty line’ whilst doing nothing to help those on the very lowest incomes or to improve children’s future prospects. In their place, we introduced two new statutory indicators to track progress on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas which can make the biggest difference to children’s long-term outcomes.

DWP tracks and monitors many different aspects of poverty, including our four statutory measures of relative income, absolute income, combined low income and material deprivation and persistent poverty.

National Statistics on the number of people in low income and children and pensioners in material deprivation are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication: Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We also measure poverty’s root causes and long-term impacts as part of our Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families publication: Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families indicators 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Measures of persistent poverty are published annually in Income Dynamics: Income Dynamics: 2010 to 2019 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)