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Government tackling 'root causes' of child poverty

The Government says it is committed to eradicating child poverty and in a statement the Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said:

"We want to take a new approach by tackling the root causes including worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown.

"Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million people better off."

Manchester Central had the highest rate of child poverty according to the study at 47%
Manchester Central had the highest rate of child poverty according to the study at 47% Credit: Press Association

'Gross levels of inequality' in every UK region

The child poverty map reveals the depth and breadth of child poverty across the country showing the gross levels of inequality that children face in every region. Far too many children whose parents are struggling to making a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.

The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long term poverty and disadvantage.

Local authorities are having to deal with reduced budgets but they have critical decisions to make. Were calling on authorities to prioritise low income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending, including spending on the new council tax benefit, and on protecting families hit by the bedroom tax.

This week we have written to local authority leaders in the local authorities with the most child poverty, asking them what they will do to tackle child poverty in their local area.

– Enver Solomon, Chair of the End Child Poverty campaign

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Poverty affecting '20% of children' across Britain

New figures reveal the extent to which British children are living in poverty. The Campaign to End Child Poverty says 20.2% of British children are classified as below the poverty line, before housing costs. The top 20 parliamentary constituencies for child poverty in the UK are:

  • Manchester Central, 47%
  • Belfast West, 43%
  • Glasgow North East, 43%
  • Birmingham, Ladywood, 42%
  • Bethnal Green and Bow, 42%
  • Liverpool, Riverside, 42%
  • Poplar and Limehouse, 41%
  • Middlesbrough, 40%
  • Blackley and Broughton, 38%
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Central, 38%

Get the full interactive map showing poverty levels across the UK here.

Child poverty must be measured 'in a sensible way'

Schools minister David Laws told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that to get policy right, "you have to measure child poverty in a sensible way".

Mr Laws said the aim needed to be about taking people out of poverty in the long term and "not just maintaining them on means-tested benefits".

We think, and this is a crucial policy difference, we think the last Labour government's strategy of putting more and more money into means-tested benefits just to move people slightly above the poverty line is defunct now, not only because we have run out of money, but because in the long term you've got to give people opportunity.

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Government sets out new vision for ending child poverty

How is poverty currently measured

Officially, any household which has an income of less than 60 per cent of the median income, is classed as living in poverty.

What is the government proposing

The Government is launching a consultation looking at how it should measure poverty in the future.

Ministers are considering using measures including health, education, family breakdown, addiction and worklessness which they say will give a more accurate picture of families living in poverty.

Labour 'failed to tackle child poverty'

Iain Duncan Smith will accuse Labour of leaving the root causes of poverty "unchecked" and failing to "break the cycle of disadvantage", despite spending £171 billion on tax credits.

The coalition Government is committed to developing a new multidimensional measure of child poverty.

This new measure will span different indicators, drawing together our knowledge of what it means for a child to live in poverty.

It must be robust in showing the total number of children living in poverty in the UK and the severity of that poverty whilst also being widely accepted by the public as meaningful and accurate.

– Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith
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