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Professor David Gordon gives evidence to House of Commons on Child Poverty Act targets

Generic image illustrating poverty

25 September 2015

Professor David Gordon from the School for Policy Studies gave evidence, as part of an expert panel to the House of Commons, about proposals to abolish Child Poverty Act targets.

Professor Gordon, who is internationally renowned for his research into poverty and social justice, spoke to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill Scrutiny Committee about the proposed reforms and the risks of removing the reporting child poverty targets. 

Professor Gordon said: “The UK Government is planning to effectively repeal the 2010 Child Poverty Act and replace the four low-income (and material deprivation) child poverty target measures with indicators of educational attainment at age 16 and worklessness among families with children.  While these are very important measures they are not good indicators of child poverty or children’s life chances.  About two thirds of poor children live in families where at least one person is in employment and the majority of ‘workless’ households are not poor.  Money matters and research has clearly shown that children’s life chances are likely to be affected by low-family incomes.

“The UK is a world-leader in the scientific measurement of child poverty and our methods have been adopted by many countries and international organisations (e.g. EU, OECD, UN).  If the government abandons its rigorous, tried and tested child poverty measures there is a danger of the UK becoming an international laughing stock – few people are likely to be convinced that child poverty has little or nothing to do with a lack of money and the consequent deprivation.’'


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