Child poverty 'to rise in years'

Alan MillburnChild poverty is set to rise "for many years to come" after an "almost certain reverse" in progress to wipe it out, the Government's adviser on social mobility has said.

Former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn urged ministers to "come clean and make clear" that the Government will not meet its goal of eradicating it by 2020.
But he warned all political parties they had a duty to either "put up or shut up" over the target in the light of research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing it would take £19 billion to make it "in any way achievable".

In a speech to The Children's Society Mr Milburn, who was appointed the independent reviewer on social mobility and child poverty by the coalition, said: "Progress on child poverty is stalling.
"Worse than that, it has almost certainly started to reverse.

"Child poverty is set to rise and, if things go on as they are, it is likely to go on rising for many years to come.

"The child poverty targets that Labour first set and the coalition have since backed will simply not be met.

"Child poverty strangles progress. It stunts potential. It stifles talent."

Mr Milburn, who left Parliament last year, said there were 1.4 million children living in absolute poverty but 2.6 million youngsters are living below the relative poverty line - set at 60% of median household incomes.

He called on ministers to "end the confusion in Government" caused by separately tackling child poverty, increasing social mobility and beating social injustice, warning there was a "danger here of too much resulting in too little".

© 2011 Press Association
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