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Children: Poverty

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage of children living in poverty in (a) the UK, (b) the North East and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. (148052)

Specific information regarding low income for the UK is available in “Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2005/06 (Revised)”. The report uses 60 per cent. of median income as the low income threshold. This threshold is the internationally recognised measure of poverty. The report is available in the Library.

The percentage of children in the UK living below the low income threshold stood at 22 per cent. in 2005-06. In the North East region, during the three-year period up to and including 2005-06, 28 per cent. of children were living below the threshold.

The figure for the North East region represents a fall in the total number of children living below the low income threshold of 18 per cent. in five years, which is broadly the same decrease as has been seen across the UK as a whole in the seven years since 1998-99.

The information requested is not available below regional level.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress towards meeting the 2010 target of halving child poverty. (148296)

Our child poverty targets are ambitious and rightly so; when this Government came to power, one in three children were living in poverty. Our labour market polices and the tax credit systems have helped to lift 600,000 children out of poverty.

We know there is much more to do and are committed to meeting the targets. Earlier this year DWP published ‘Working for Children’, our strategy for parental employment, and this year's Budget included measures which will lift an additional 200,000 children out of poverty. DWP is currently working closely with HM Treasury, the Department for Families, Children and Schools, and other Government Departments on producing a child poverty delivery agreement as part of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.