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Child Poverty

Volume 607: debated on Monday 14 March 2016

21. What assessment his Department has made of the effect of recent changes to benefits on levels of child poverty. (904072)

I congratulate the hon. Lady on getting her question in.

We have seen relative child poverty fall by 300,000 since we came to office. The number of children living in workless households is also down 480,000 to a record low. Living standards are up 3.3% and income inequality, which rose under the previous Labour Government, is down since 2010.

In the light of research published by the Children’s Society, which shows that 104,000 children in Bradford are adversely affected by the benefit freeze and that in my constituency alone 29,500 children are living in poverty, does the Minister not think he would be better off arguing with his Chancellor about his Budget rather than needlessly pushing more families and children into poverty?

I simply do not agree with the hon. Lady, because the figures do not bear it out. It is worth remembering that in-work and out-of-work poverty rose under the last Labour Government. Under this Government, out-of-work poverty, which affected 71% of households with children in 2009-10, has fallen to 61% and is still falling. As we know, three quarters of poor children living in families that move into employment leave poverty altogether. A child poverty transitions report made that very clear. I think we should all celebrate getting people and families back to work, as we have been doing, and giving them a real chance to earn and have aspiration.