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Child Poverty

Volume 600: debated on Thursday 15 October 2015

19. What recent assessment she has made of the effect on equality of the Government’s policies on child poverty. (901574)

The Government are committed to governing as a one nation Government and achieving true social justice, which is why we want to tackle the root causes of poverty and improve the life chances of all children. Our proposals in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill introduce new measures of worklessness and of educational attainment, which will make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children now and in the future.

Does the Minister agree that the Government’s rebranding of the child poverty commission as a social mobility commission represents a damaging shift in emphasis? The most vulnerable children will be disadvantaged by this change in tack and by a lack of focus on the equality of outcomes for children living in poverty.

No, I do not agree with the hon. Lady because this Government’s approach is working. The number of children on relative low incomes has fallen by 300,000 since 2010, and the number of children who grow up in workless households is also at a record low. If she wants to focus on outcomes, I encourage her to focus—as we do, particularly in education—on the outcomes of all children. The gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged has narrowed since 2010.

Does the Minister agree that one of the best ways to reduce child poverty is to get into work families that do not have a breadwinner? Is that not exactly what this Government have been doing so successfully?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that work is absolutely the best way out of poverty. Of course, yesterday’s employment numbers showed strong employment growth, including the fact that there are now over 920,000 more women in work in this country than in 2010.