Skip to main content

Children: Poverty

Volume 690: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (John Hutton) has made the following Statement.

Today I am publishing Working for Children (Cm 7067) which includes our response to recommendations made in the report Delivering on Child Poverty: what would it take? by Lisa Harker in November 2006. It is only one element of a cross-governmental child poverty strategy and sets out the additional measures the DWP will take to maximise its contribution to the ambitious targets of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020.

Building on the announcements made in the Budget to take a further 200,000 children out of poverty by increasing tax credits and wider support for parents, Working for Children refocuses £150 million of resources within the Department for Work and Pensions towards greater support for families.

Measures include:

piloting a New Deal for Families approach so more families get access to support that is often available only for lone parents. To do this we will extend support available in the New Deal for Lone Parents Plus pilot areas to all families with children in those areas;

extending the New Deal for Lone Parents Plus scheme to help more lone parents benefit from this service and signalling initial support ahead of a period of consultation for recommendations from David Freud to increase obligations on lone parents with older children to look for work;

providing more support to families, particularly in London where employment rates lag, including widening and improving the in-work credit scheme which provides additional financial support for lone parents as they make the transition to work;

changing Jobcentre Plus systems so parents are properly identified in the benefit system for the first time and record the childcare needs and preferences of all parents—not just lone parents as at present; and

providing advice and support for the partners of parents claiming jobseeker’s allowance, with the introduction of mandatory six-monthly work-focused interviews for this group.

We have made significant progress by lifting 600,000 children out of relative poverty since the Prime Minister set the historic target in 1998 to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

Our success in helping people into work has been key to reducing child poverty. We have seen 2.5 million more people in work than in 1997 and there are now more than one million lone parents in employment. We need to continue to build on this success but recognise there is more to do if we are to reach our goal.

Copies of the report are available from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.