London Child Poverty Commission final report
28 February 2008
The London Child Poverty Commission Published its final report on 28 February 2008. The report, Capital Gains, is the result of two years of extensive research and consultation. It calls for action from national and local government, employers, and to people working directly with families and children.
It calls for a govenment Minister to have specific responsibility for reducing child poverty in the capital, and for tougher targets for Jobcentre Plus to help more London parents into work. The report also calls for:
Employers can lead the way too in offering flexible working opportunities, in-work training for parents starting off on the bottom rung of the ladder, and by tackling discrimination to ensure that all have equal access to jobs.
Councils can drive change at local level by welding together children’s services, housing, economic development and regeneration to tackle family poverty. They also have a crucial role in improving the take-up of housing benefit when people move into work. The report recommends that housing benefit (HB) should be fixed for six months for all claimants who have been on HB for over a year and who are moving into paid employment.
Child poverty rates are particularly high among families living in social housing in London. The report argues that the Mayor of London should require social landlords and their partners to provide closer integration of housing and employment services.
Child poverty rates in the capital are higher than elsewhere in the country. Four out of ten children – 650,000 - are living in poverty in London. Families are more likely to be deeper in poverty and more likely to be without a job. They are also more likely to have fewer choices about their housing and more likely to face multiple disadvantages.
Launching the report, Chair of the London Child Poverty Commission, Carey Oppenheim, says:
“It is hard to believe that four out of ten children are living in poverty in one of the richest cities in the world. We have a once in a generation opportunity to make a difference to children’s lives - this report identifies practical steps which can have an impact now and in the future. But making an impact will only work if different players – whether it is government at national regional or local level, employers, or people working directly with families and children - act in concert. If we work together we can transform the lives of London’s most disadvantaged children.”
And Cllr Merrick Cockell, Chairman of London Councils, comments:
“London Councils applauds the work that the Commission has carried out in the last two years. Eradicating child poverty is one of the biggest challenges facing the capital – and yet what this report makes absolutely clear is that it is achievable, and together we can tackle these entrenched inequalities.
“London’s local government is committed to rising to this challenge. We will be going through the report in detail to see how best we can make a difference on the ground. I would urge central and regional government to back us with the support and resources we need to really make a difference.”