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Child Poverty Target

Volume 578: debated on Monday 31 March 2014

The Government are committed to the Child Poverty Act 2010 and to ending child poverty by 2020. It is not possible accurately to project child poverty figures, but already we are seeing progress in tackling the root causes. Just last week, we learned that there are now 290,000 fewer children living in workless households compared with 2010, and that has a net impact and effect on child poverty.

The Secretary of State mentions reducing the number of children in workless households, but today child poverty is overwhelmingly a problem for working families. Since 2010, the number of parents who work part time but who want to work full time is up 45%. What are the Government going to do about the prevalence of low-paid insecure work that is trapping families in poverty?

The last figures that covered people who were in work and in poverty were misrepresented by those who talked about them. In truth, those figures reflect what happened under the previous Government, when we saw an increase of 500,000 families who were in work and in poverty. That has been flat since the election. We are working on that to ensure that we get as many people out of poverty as possible. The reforms that we are changing and making to get people back to work, which the Minister of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey) has talked about, will have a huge impact on those who are in poverty now.

People are better off in work. Despite what Labour did, people have more chance now to change their circumstances and more likelihood of coming out of poverty. Let me remind the hon. Lady of one little fact. Labour spent £175 billion of taxpayers’ money on one benefit—chasing a child poverty target that it simply did not achieve. That was wasted money.