20 million meals: child poverty is set to rise, not fall, by 2020

A plan to wipe out child poverty from the UK by 2020 looks set to fail as new research shows instead of falling, it’s forecast to rise.

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At the time of writing, 2.3million children are living in poverty in the UK – but experts are predicting that it will rise to 3.5million by 2020, a far cry from the 10% target.

The Coalition Government appointed Alan Milburn to head up the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission to look at the issue.

He said: “The Government’s approach falls far short of what is needed to reduce, yet alone end child poverty in our country. Our new research shows that the gap between the objective of making child poverty history and the reality is becoming ever wider.”

Plans to erdicate child poverty first came up in 1999, as a policy aim by the then Labour Government. They became law in 2010 and the Coalition Government pledged to meet the demanding target.

The Child Poverty Action Group, which monitors the 2010 law to end hungry children, has been assessing how progress is going – and it’s not looking good.

It reveals that “a short period of flat-lining, child poverty rates will begin to rise again in the near future”.

The research collated also suggests that “changes to tax and benefits have a key explanatory role”. This includes sanctions (stopping benefits), the bedroom tax and changes to the way in which housing benefit is allocated.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Government minister in charge of the changes to the benefits system, went on the BBC Radio 4 programme Today back in March to affirm his support for ending child poverty.

He said: “I believe the long-term strategy, which, you know, part of the long-term economic strategy that we are doing, is actually going to bring child poverty down.”

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Will Higham, Director of UK Poverty, Save the Children, said: “This is another hard-hitting assessment of the scale of the child poverty crisis our political class are sleepwalking towards. If we can’t hit the target all parties agreed too, then it’s time all parties came up with a concrete plan to tackle the triple whammy of low wages, rising prices and further social security cuts faced by families with children.”

Speaking back in April about the Trussell Trust’s foodbanks sharing 1,000,000 food parcels in the past year, Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy and Policy at The Children’s Society, said: “The Government’s massive changes to welfare and rising food, fuel and housing costs are making it impossible for many working and non-working parents to afford the basics. An estimated 400,000 households a month are being forced to take pay-day loans to pay for food and other essentials. This is a scandal in any developed country.”

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