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Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
Child Poverty – A National Perspective
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Child Poverty – A National Perspective


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  • THE PLEDGE Tony Blair made his famous pledge in 1999 THE TARGET AND ITS MILESTONES On the way to ending child poverty by 2020, two milestone targets were established: Reduce 1998-9 level by one quarter - by 2004/5 Half 1998-9 level – by 2010-11
  • A BINDING LEGAL DUTY The child poverty sector – especially through the End Child Poverty coalition – campaigned for the target to become law. A POLITICAL CONSENSUS All the main parties signed up to the Act and its targets. In 2006, in what he acknowledged at the time was a radical policy shift, David Cameron said: "I believe that poverty is an economic waste, a moral disgrace. We need to think of poverty in relative terms - the fact that some people lack those things which others in society take for granted. "So I want this message to go out loud and clear - the Conservative Party recognises, will measure and will act on relative poverty” THE 4 MEASURES OF POVERTY IN THE ACT The main measure is Relative poverty – to reduce the proportion of children who live in relative low income (in families with income below 60 per cent of the median) to less than 10 per cent The use of four measures was to ensure improvements were real and lasting • Combined low income and material deprivation – to reduce the proportion of children who live in material deprivation and have a low income to less than 5 per cent • Persistent poverty – to reduce the proportion of children that experience long periods of relative poverty, with the specific target to be set at a later date; and • ‘Absolute’ poverty – to reduce the proportion of children who live below an income threshold fixed in real terms to less than 5 per cent.
  • The Act had six key elements A consultation paper on the strategy was published in December, but we don’t believe the Government will publish the strategy within a year of the Act being published – that would be by the end of this week. We expect the strategy to be published next week or the week after. We’re really disappointed that an independent commission hasn’t been set by the government. The Act set up the commission so that it would provide independent and evidence-led advice on what the strategy needs to include and to monitor progress. The reviews by Field and Graham Allen - helpful as they are in many respects - plainly aren’t what parliament intended. As we’ve heard from Barnsley, the Act recognises the vital role of local authorities and their need to perform much of the heavy lifting needed to make progress. Finally, the UK child poverty strategy, and advice given by the Commission to the UK and devolved governments, must take into account economic and fiscal circumstances, and the likely economic and fiscal impact of any measure.
  • The target drove action across government and led to real progress being made. Child Poverty has dropped from 3.4million to 2.8million for the latest year we have information for The fall in child poverty numbers happened before 2005 and after 2007. The latest figures for FY 2009-10 will be published on Thursday and are likely to show a further fall. IFS predicted in December child poverty would fall to 2.5m by 2010-11 Danger is that unless progress made soon – 2020 target becomes unrealistic
  • The next three slides highlight what the evidence says on what worked: What worked --- Financial support for families All families but especially poorest This has had a real impact on children’s lives
  • Getting more parents into work Through tax credits, minimum wage and job programmes There was a significant increase in lone parent employment rates.
  • What worked - Childcare No doubt the extension of free nursery places made a huge difference for many families. We’re pleased the Government is looking to build on this by funding nursery provision for some 2 yr olds, But hugely disappointed by the cuts to funding for surestart and the reduction in help with childcare costs through Working Tax Credit they go against everything the government is saying about improving work incentives
  • If a strategy has no specified milestones – how is it a strategy? A strategy to arrive at what point? To deliver what?
  • Donald Hirsch – Family Budgets – incomes need to rise by more than inflation – if budget standards uprated according to needs - much higher increases due to rising costs of food, fuel and clothing – highest rises and most common types of expenditure
  • Cost of entering work for second earner, average wage family is lower than the OECD average
  • OECD evidence relates to period before recession
  • If de-prioritisation of income poverty is to save money – what about investment needed in services? Early years investment – serious money needed here - not a cheap option Childcare quality is worst in disadvantaged areas
  • Transcript

    • 1. Child Poverty – A National Perspective 28 June 2011
    • 2. Child Poverty Target
      • 1999, PM Tony Blair:
      • ‘I will set out our historic aim that ours is the first generation to end child poverty for ever; and it will take a generation. It is a 20 year mission but I believe it can be done.’
      • Set target to end child poverty by 2020
      • Reduce by one quarter by 2004/05 (75% of 1998/99 level)
      • Halve it by 2010/11 (50% 1998/99 level)
    • 3. Making the target legally binding: The Child Poverty Act
      • Poverty lobby campaigned for target to become law
      • Key role of End Child Poverty Campaign (150 orgs)
      • Historic cross-party consensus
      • Target becomes binding legal duty - March 2010
      • 4 measures:
      • 1. Headline rate – relative measure - 60% median BHC
      • - ‘eradicated’ – below 10% (now 22%)
      • 2. Income and deprivation
      • 3. Persistent poverty
      • 4. Absolute poverty
    • 4. Child Poverty Act
      • 6 elements:
      • Duty to end child poverty
      • Duty to publish strategy (inc. ‘building blocks’)
      • Independent Child Poverty Commission
      • Annual Report
      • Work with local partners
      • Depending on: ‘economic and fiscal circumstances’
    • 5. 2020: Long way to go
      • Child poverty doubled 1979 – 1997
      • Progress since 1999 - Would have been 2 million more poor children without these measures (Treasury, 2009)
      • but long way to go
      • 1979 1997 1998/99 2010-11
      • % (BHC) 13 27 26 20
      • % (AHC) 14 33 34 29
      • No.(BHC) 1.8m 3.4m 3.4m 2.6m
      • No.(AHC) 2.0m 4.2m 4.4m 3.8m
      • (Poverty = below 60% median equivalised, household income, Department of Work and Pensions (2010) HBAI: 1994/95-2009/10)
    • 6. What worked? 1
      • Financial support families with children – tax credits:
      • Families with children better off by £2,000 per year in 2010 compared to 1997
      • Poorest fifth better off by £4,500 per year in real terms
      • Falling risk of poverty in workless households also reduced numbers (has risen again since 2008)
      • Real impact on lives – FACS – reduced debt etc.
    • 7. What worked? 2
      • Getting more parents into paid work:
      • Tax credits
      • NMW
      • Employment programmes
      • Lone parents – emp. up 12% since 1997
      • (45-57%)
      • Worklessness in couple families
      • (fell 5% between 1997 – 2007/08)
    • 8. What worked? 3
      • Childcare provision:
      • Free nursery places – now 15 hours a week
      • 80% costs paid in WTC (reducing to 70%)
      • Childcare Act 2006 – duties on LAs to ensure sufficient childcare for working families
    • 9.
      • The Coalition Government
    • 10. Govt’s CP Strategy 2011 – a new approach to child poverty?
      • Supporting families to achieve financial independence
      • Supporting family life and children’s life chances
      • The role of place and transforming lives
      • Translating our vision into reality
      • Child poverty indicators and timelines
    • 11. New Indicators
          • Family resources (e.g. income targets and new severe poverty measure)
          • Family circumstances (e.g. children in workless households, in-work poverty)
          • Children’s life chances (e.g. school attainment, teen pregnancy, youth offending, family structures)
      • 18-24s in or not in f-t or p-t education
      • Birth weight
      • Child development
      • Attainment gaps
      • Progress to HE
      • Teen pregnancies
      • Youth offending
      • Income poverty and family structure
    • 12. Good ideas
      • Income measures still there
      • Life-cycle and broad perspective is good
      • Removing financial disincentives to work
      • Acknowledges extent of in-work child poverty
      • Support to parents
      • Focus on debt
      • Enabling children to fulfil their potential
      • Important role of education
      • Importance of investment in services
      • Focus on communities, local authorities and local partners
      • Focus on tackling poor health
    • 13. A bit of a worry
      • Severe poverty?
      • Family structures?
      • Emphasis on ‘causes of poverty’ or ‘underlying drivers’ is not substantiated, eg:
        • only 2.7% families include an alcoholic parent, 0.9% a drug dependent one
        • Family breakdown as a ‘cause’ – depends which country you live in
      • ‘ Cycles of poverty’ rhetoric – behaviour not structures
      • Review of statutory duties – DCLG
      • Not much on information, advice and assistance – except on debt and money management (9(5)(c) CPA)
    • 14. More concerns
      • Annex B – policy delivery
        • Includes benefit cutting measures
      • Denigrates income targets
        • ‘narrow income targets’
        • ‘poverty plus a pound’
      • Potentially unlawful?
        • No advice from Commission - S.10 CPA
        • No attempt to describe the expected progress in achieving targets - S.9(7) CPA
        • Only ‘positive directional improvements’ – p.21
    • 15. Budget and Spending Review 2010
      • £81bn cut from the public sector in benefits and services
      • £18bn in benefit cuts compared to a £2bn tax on bankers
      • CB freeze and cut, tax credits slashed (disregards, taper, help with childcare, etc), baby/toddler elements, HiP grant, SS grant, Child Trust Fund, cuts to DLA and HB
      • Families, particularly with young children hardest hit
    • 16. Child poverty set to rise
      • Claim - no measurable impact on child poverty for the next two years – up to April 2013
      • Child Tax Credit increase – due to discipline imposed by Child Poverty Act
      • Latest IFS analysis showed both absolute and relative child poverty will rise between 2010/11 and 2013/14 (IFS, Dec 2010)
      • Also likely to be rises in persistent poverty and in deprivation levels.
      • Leaves a massive task - to reach 2020 child poverty target requires 10.5% reduction in figures – has not fallen by such a rate since at least 1961 – when stats began
    • 17.  
    • 18. Making progress locally
      • National Foundation for Educational Research report on local authority led child poverty strategies
      • 1. reducing worklessness through community-based
          • education and employment schemes
      • 2. improving financial literacy and money-management
          • skills and enhancing benefits advice
      • 3. improving children’s health outcomes through
          • targeted interventions e.g. Free School Meals take up
      • 4. giving children the best start in life by focusing on
          • early years provision.
    • 19. Making progress locally (nfer report)
      • 1. Keeping interventions specific, family focused and
      • manageable, for example, by focusing on particular
      • neighbourhoods, families or groups.
      • 2. ‘Poverty-proofing’ all LA strategic plans in order to
      • make sure that poverty policy has high status across
      • the LA and to make sure that it is ‘everyone’s
      • business’.
      • 3. Ensuring that child poverty does not become
      • ‘ marooned’ solely as a children’s services issue.
      • 4. Self-monitoring and evaluation of both processes and
      • outcomes, and sharing of good practice, both across
      • the LA partnership, and through regional networks.
    • 20. Impact of the cuts
      • Children suffer if parents less well off in work, and lives disrupted if family has to move due to HB cuts – away from schools, communities, family and friends.
      • Inflation – food, fuel (esp if living in poor housing)
      • Health – Marmot;
      • Even bigger cuts hit families after 2013 –eg, change to up-rating benefits by CPI, rather than RPI which has a cumulative effect.
      • Major additional action will be needed after 2013 to avoid even steeper rises in child poverty
    • 21. Universal Credit
      • Big means-test – good to try to simplify & improve unemployment trap
      • No losers at point of introduction? Cuts imposed before 2013
      • Impact on work incentives – depends on money going into it – will be complex, have high withdrawal and high marginal tax rates – contributes to poverty trap
      • IFS preliminary analysis showed single parents and partners in couples will have worse work incentives (IFS, Jan 2011)
      • risks to women’s independent income and incentives for partners in couples to work or for lone parents to progress in work.
      • no decision yet about childcare costs
      • Meanwhile incomes and work incentives already damaged through major cuts to tax credits –eg, increased tapers, frozen rates, cutting help with childcare costs – up to £30 a week
      • Cost of entering work for an average-waged, second earner 68% effectively taxed away, compared to OECD average of 52% (OECD, 2011)
    • 22. Some conclusions
      • Frank Field suggested trade-off each year between investing in early years and benefit increases – theme running through ‘strategy’
        • You have to tackle both current circumstances and future prospects – there isn’t a trade-off worth having here.
      • On the same day - UNICEF report card 9 showed the UK coming way down league table of countries on tackling child wellbeing and inequality
        • UK did well at reducing inequalities through universal health and education services – but let down by very poor record on income inequality and child poverty – key point
      • Due to increased investment in cash supports and childcare, child poverty fell more than in any other OECD country (1995-2005) (OECD, 2011)
    • 23. More conclusions
      • Tackle low pay and quality of jobs
      • Ensure Universal Credit works to improve incentives to work and to progress in work – invest more, lower taper, improve design
      • Benefit cuts will damage all this – need to think again