End Child Poverty

I am committed to tackling child poverty and improving children's life chances. The old income-based child poverty measures, introduced in the Child Poverty Act 2010, did not address the root causes of poverty and incentivised the Government to focus only on the symptoms. That is why the Welfare Reform and Work Act repealed the 2010 measures and introduced new life chances measures of worklessness and educational attainment. Annual reporting on these new measures will ensure action is focussed in the areas that the evidence shows are most important for children's life chances. 
 
Setting targets based on relative income does not encourage policymakers to address the underlying causes of poverty. It led the previous Labour Government to simply spend more and more money on income transfers to lift people just over the poverty threshold, without doing anything about why those people were in poverty in the first place. The relative income measures showed the number of children in relative poverty falling during the last recession because of falling median incomes, but of course in reality children were not better off at all.
 
Ministers have committed to continuing to publish official data annually on low incomes in the Households Below Average Income statistics. These figures include measures of both relative and absolute low income, and will be there for all to see. I do not believe, however, that requiring reporting on these measures for the purposes of the life chances strategy would have led to better outcomes for children. We must focus attention on the root causes of poverty, not the symptoms