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Child Poverty

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children have been removed from poverty since 1997; how many are estimated to be living in poverty; what targets he has for reducing child poverty; and if he will make a statement on progress towards reaching those targets. [110769]

Poverty and social exclusion are complex and multi-dimensional issues, affecting many aspects of peoples' lives—including their living standards, health, housing, the quality of their environment and not just low income. The fourth annual 'Opportunity for all' report published in September 2002 (Cm 5598) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure against this strategy.

In April 2002 we published Measuring child poverty: a consultation document to gather views on an appropriate measure of child poverty for the long term. This consultation was very well received and we plan to publish initial conclusions in May 2003.

There is a shared Department for Work and Pensions/HM Treasury PSA target to reduce the number of children in low-income households by at least a quartr by 2004. Data for this is published in Households Below Average Income 1994–95 to 2001–02;. On this measure the number of children in low income fell by around half a million between 1996–97 and 2001–02. The baseline for the PSA target is 1998–99. We are making steady progress towards the target.

All publications, statistics and targets quoted in this reply are in the public domain and are available in the Library.