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Response to the consultation on the Child Poverty Strategy 2014 to 2017, 09/06/14 [E/NI/S/W]

In this response to the government's draft child poverty strategy, the Commission warns that 3.5 million children will be in absolute poverty by 2020 - almost 5 times the number needed to meet the government’s legal obligation to end child poverty by that date - and that the government lacks any credible plan to get back on track.

Positive things in the strategy include the extensions of childcare support for low-income families and a greater acknowledgement of the problem of working poverty. However, the Commission notes that although progress has been made on tackling worklessness, the strategy does not rise to the urgent challenge of tackling working poverty. Structural changes in the labour market, such as increased job insecurity and low pay, is worsening the issue at the same time as austerity, meaning that the state has less capacity to tackle working poverty through redistribution.

The Commission concludes that the strategy is a missed opportunity and falls far short of what is needed.