The Child Poverty Bill could go further
Thursday 8 October 2009
As many across the sector will know, Friday 16
October is Child Poverty day. This year will be particularly
significant as MPs prepare to debate the Child Poverty Bill, which
provides a legal basis for the government's target to eradicate
child poverty in the UK by 2020.
As a founding member of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, NCB
welcomes this step to ensure a sustained effort towards tackling
child poverty. This will not only help us secure better outcomes
for the 2.9 million children living in poverty but, bearing in mind
the strong correlation between poverty and other costly social
issues, such as crime, low educational attainment and poor health,
will benefit society more generally.
However, there are a number of ways in which the Bill can be
strengthened, and NCB and our End Child Poverty partners will be
working to achieve this as the legislation progresses.
Firstly, we want to see a truly ambitious target. The target of
less than 10 per cent of children living in poverty proposed in the
bill is not satisfactory. End Child Poverty will be calling for a
target of less than 5 per cent which would reflect what has been
achieved in Europe.
Secondly, we want the Child Poverty Bill to benefit all children
and young people living in poverty. Currently, the legislation
defines a child as a person up to the age of 15 and those aged 16
to 17 who are entitled to child benefit. This could mean that the
124,000 young people aged 16 to 17 not in education, employment or
training and those living apart from their families may be excluded
from efforts to measure and tackle child poverty. The UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child confers on all children under the age of
18 the right to an adequate standard of living. It is vital that
this piece of legislation does the same.
Zoe Renton, policy officer at the policy unit, NCB
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