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Child Poverty

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effect on child poverty of proposals in A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work to introduce the Employment and Support Allowance. (77937)

We believe that work is the best route out of poverty. It builds family aspirations, fosters greater social inclusion and can improve an individual’s health and well-being. Our Green Paper sets out proposals aimed at achieving an employment rate equivalent to 80 per cent. of the working age population. We will do this by reducing the number of people on incapacity benefits, by helping lone parents into work and by increasing the number of older workers.

We propose to significantly reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefits through a three pronged approach: reducing the number of people who leave the workplace due to illness; increasing the number leaving benefits and better addressing the needs of all those on benefit with additional payments to the most severely disabled people.

Work is still under way in relation to the proposals, and an assessment of the potential impact on child poverty will form part of this. We are currently reviewing the DWP contribution to reducing child poverty across all current and planned policies and, in the autumn, we will be setting out our new strategy for how we can make faster progress towards reaching our goal of halving child poverty by 2010.