Liverpool City Region urges the Government to be ‘more ambitious’ in tackling child poverty

Published on: Monday, 08-September-2014

The Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission is calling on the Government to get serious about setting itself a target of cutting the rate of persistent child poverty.

The Government recently sought views on setting a 2020 target for persistent child poverty, which measures the number of children living in poverty for three out of four years.  It is proposing to set a target of less than 7% by 2020. The Commission challenged the Government to set a target that will make a real difference.

The Commission calls for a target of 5%. Based on historical data, if the Government were to set a target of 7%, it would be able to achieve its objective without having to specifically focus on tackling persistent poverty.

The Commission challenges the Government to develop a set of life chances indicators to run alongside the traditional income poverty measurements.  A set of such indicators would measure life chances of children based on a wider set of factors – which are known to drive positive outcomes in adulthood – such as language and communication development, emotional health, the home learning environment, and positive parenting.

Frank Field MP, who chairs the Commission, said: ‘Tackling child poverty is too important to be left only to the Government. Whilst it must play its part, our Commission has been working since 2010 to take action across Merseyside on low pay, the costs of living, and making sure children are ready to start school. We believe that a revised set of child poverty measures is required to better reflect the evidence on its underlying causes and the measures that are proven to produce the best outcomes for children’s life chances. We are therefore urging the Government to set itself an ambitious and meaningful target to ensure it is making the right pace of change, but more importantly, sustaining it.’

The Commission brings together leaders from the third, private and public sectors.  It seeks a sustainable solution to child and family poverty, which addresses both income deprivation and broader child wellbeing, as well as commissioning activities that will enhance the work of local authorities.