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Govt launches child poverty strategy consultation

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has released for consultation the Government's draft strategy to tackle child poverty over the next three years.

The strategy reiterates the Government's commitment to end child poverty by 2020 and promises to "tackle poverty at its source".

The new document lists a range of existing policies which might help children living in poverty, including:

  • Reforming the welfare system through Universal Credit
  • Providing free school meals for all infant school children from September 2014
  • Cutting tax for 25 million people by increasing the personal tax allowance and cutting income tax for those on the minimum wage by almost two thirds
  • Reducing water costs by capping water bills of low-income families with three or more children on a water meter
  • Reducing fuel costs by reducing the typical energy bill next year by around £50 on average

'Controversial' changes to poverty definition on hold

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith's controversial plans to change the definition of poverty have been put hold with the Department of Work and Pensions due to put forward a strategy to tackle child poverty instead.

Iain Duncan-Smith's plans to introduce a new definition and targets for child poverty have been blocked by George Osborne. Credit: PA

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Government's three-year strategy includes radical plans to cut water, food and fuel bills for low-income families as well as measure to tackle "worklessness" in the poorest households.

In an joint Guardian article with Chancellor George Osborne, Mr Duncan Smith said the Conservatives remained "committed to introducing better measures of child poverty - measures that drive the right action to bring about a real change in children's lives now and in the future.

Under Labour, "the wrong measures based on inadequate data and simplistic analysis drive misguided and ineffective policy", the pair added.


Labour: 20,000 tenants wrongly charged 'bedroom tax'

The Labour party is claiming more than 20,000 councils tenants have been wrongly paying the so-called "bedroom tax" because of a Government error.

Labour claims thousands of tenants have been wrongly paying the so-called "bedroom tax." Credit: Press Association

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves says that 194 councils out of 346 who replied to a Freedom of Information request showed that 21,500 people have overpaid.

The coalition says it is working on fixing the loophole which is causing the errors.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith challenges Labour's figures, claiming the amount of tenants who have overpaid was likely to be around 5,000.

IDS on tackling the culture of Benefits Street

The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said Channel 4 programme Benefits Street reflects "a culture in which people have kind of given up in some cases on the idea of legitimate work...and education as a way out of poverty and difficulty".

Speaking to ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen, he added: "The system we have created over many years as politicians has created the kind of perverse choices that people make in Benefits Street and others.

"I want to change the system so the choices they make are positive".

Changes to benefits have made people 'fear future cuts'

Cuts and freezes to benefits have made people "fear future cuts" and penalised hard-working taxpayers who have fallen on hard times, according to one union.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady also dismissed claims reforms have left people more secure as "ridiculous":

Iain Duncan Smith's claim to have made people feel more secure through his cuts to the welfare safety net is ridiculous.

Across the country people fear the bedroom tax, and harsh and unfair disability assessments. They are worried however hard they have worked and contributed, they will soon be made to wait five weeks before receiving any benefit if they lose their job.

The truth is that welfare fraud has just gone up, while millions of hard-working families have suffered from tax credit cuts and the child benefit freeze, and a whole new generation now fear future cuts to help for young people.

– TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

Real success has been to 'reframe the argument'

Iain Duncan Smith is expected to praise reforms to the benefits system, arguing the real success has been to "reframe the argument" away from the amount spent to the "difference it makes".

The work and pension's secretary is expected to accuse opponents to his much delayed Universal Credit of "overlooking the real question":

Our real success has been to reframe the argument - challenging a narrative beloved of the left, which focuses so exclusively on how much is being spent on welfare that it risks overlooking the real question ... that it is not about how much goes into the benefit system, but what difference it makes to people at the other end.

– Iain Duncan Smith


Welfare cuts make people feel 'more secure'

The cuts and sweeping reforms to the welfare system have made people feel "more secure", according to a senior Government minister.

Iain Duncan Smith will give a speech to the think tank he created, the Centre for Social Justice, later today. Credit: PA

In a speech to be given later today, work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith is expected to say the money saved by reforming benefits has also made people "feel more hopeful about their children's lives".

Speaking after new figures showed a fall in unemployment, and an increase in the number of people in work to more than 30 million, Mr Duncan Smith will emphasise the scale of the task the Government has set.

In a speech at a Centre for Social Justice event, the Conservative MP will accuse opponents of "angling for a return to the failed and expensive policies of the past".

Govt: Labour have 'shameful' record on benefits

The Labour party have let the average working man down with their "shameful" policies on benefits, two senior Government ministers have said.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused Labour of a "shameful betrayal" of British workers, after employment figures showed how Brits in work fell by 413,000 in five years, while immigrants in UK jobs rose by 736,000.

For years Labour presided over a labour market where the number of foreign people in jobs rocketed to record levels - while thousands of British workers were left on the sidelines, facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.

– Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith

Duncan Smith backs 'bold move' on minimum wage

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has welcomed George Osborne's "bold move" of backing an increase in the minimum wage.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

"It shows that at the heart of all our reforms this Government is concerned to improve the quality of life for the poorest in society," he said.

"The commitment to a higher national minimum wage is all part of ensuring that the economic recovery delivers for people who want to work hard and play by the rules."

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