Donít lose sight of child poverty in spending squeeze, Commission warns
22 March 2010
The London Child Poverty Commission has called for more to be done to help more than 600,000 London children who are living on or below the poverty line.
The London Child Poverty Commission – Legacy Report, published today, found that while much progress has been made in tackling child poverty in the capital, far too many young people and their families are still blighted by poverty.
The Commission has urged the government to continue to focus its energies on the capital, where a number of factors including high living costs have made initiatives to tackle poverty less successful than elsewhere in the country.
The report recognises that the economic situation has changed significantly since the Commission was established in 2006, with public spending set to be squeezed.
However, the Commission warns that it is crucial that resources are not diverted from reducing child poverty, as a failure to tackle this problem at an early stage will prove far more costly in the long term. Children who grow up in poverty often do not fulfil their potential later in life and are likely to have a higher dependency on the state than their peers.
London Councils’ executive member for children and young people, Councillor Nick Stanton said: “A lot of progress has been made to reduce child poverty in the capital since the London Child Poverty Commission was set up.
“But while the latest figures show child poverty in London has reduced slightly, overall the number of children growing up in poverty remains unacceptably high. It is vital that we continue to focus our energies and resources on this fight - – or else the capital’s young people will be counting the costs for years to come.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
"In a city so full of wealth and resources, it is unacceptable that children should be living in poverty. London has particular challenges – especially in making work pay. The high cost of childcare, travel and housing in the capital act as barriers to work.
“I want to ensure that together with colleagues in local government and also with the support of central government, we redouble our efforts to get parents into good quality, decently paid, work. Tackling poverty also brings wider social benefits, by making work pay, improving the quality of life for families and promoting children's life chances.”
Notes to editors
For a copy of the London Child Poverty Commission – Legacy Report please visit the London Child Poverty Commission website
The 600,000 children remaining in poverty refers to the number of families in poverty after housing costs are taken into consideration.
The London Child Poverty Commission was set up in 2006 by the Mayor of London and London Councils to reduce the number of children living in poverty. Its work focused on four areas: employment and income, housing and mobility, mental health and children’s life chances.
In the report, the Commission advocates a family-centred approach to helping children who are growing up in poverty. This involves agencies working together to commission a package of health, housing, employment and skills and childcare services which are tailored to the needs of the family with the aim of reducing child poverty.
It calls on the government to make work pay for parents on low incomes by making the systems for benefits, tax credits and childcare costs simpler and more transparent. More opportunities need to be made available for parents to develop their skills to progress in work, and more flexible working arrangements are needed, especially part time opportunities and term-time only employment.
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