The government is to scrap its child poverty target and will be replacing it with a new duty that would not report about relative material disadvantage and focus on educational attainment, worklessness and addiction.
According to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said new measures are needed to help the UK minimise poverty in the country. Smith made clear that there was no fall in poverty levels since the old target set by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Smith said the new measures, worked with the Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws, were formerly blocked by Finance Minister and Chancellor George Osborne, who said the politics of reforming the system were troubling.
The downgrading of the target to eliminate poverty in the UK by 2020 comes before tax credits are cut by July 8. The cuts would make it difficult to reach the old child poverty target.
Reaction to the reforming of the law were mixed. Some MPs welcomed the re-focus on the root of poverty, namely education, work and addiction. However, Labour condemned the removal of the material income target.
“Worklessness measures will identify the proportion of children living in workless households and the proportion of children in long-term workless households.
“The educational attainment measures will focus on GCSE attainment for all pupils and for particularly disadvantaged pupils.”
“We know in households with unstable relationships, where debt and addiction destabilise families, where parents lack employment skills, where children just aren’t ready to start school, these children don’t have the same chances in life as others. It is self evident.
“They cannot break out of that cycle of disadvantage. We are currently developing these measures right now – family breakdown, problem debt and drug and alcohol dependency – and we will report each year on these life chances as well.”