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Work & Pensions Committee to inquire into child poverty in the UK 30/6/03 [E/NI/S/W]

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committeehas announced an inquiry to examine the extent of child poverty in the UK and the effectiveness of the Governments strategy to eradicate it.

The number of children in relative poverty in the UK has increased substantially over the past few decades and the latest figures show that 3.8 million children, 30% of all children, are living in poverty (below 60% of median income after housing costs). The Government has pledged to end child poverty within 20 years; to reduce child poverty by half by 2010; and has a PSA target to reduce it by at least a quarter (to 3.1 million) by 2004. As the first stage of the child poverty target draws near, the Government believes it is on track to meet the target. Yet organisations working in the poverty field, leading childrens organisations and academics are increasingly concerned that this may not be the case.

Issues that are expected to be included in the Committees inquiry are:

  • The measurement of child poverty and the Governments annual poverty report Opportunity For All

  • The extent of child poverty in Britain and the causes of it

  • The impact of child poverty on children and families; are specific groups particularly affected?

  • The extent and causes of regional variations in child poverty

  • The effectiveness of the Government's strategies to reduce child poverty and whether the child poverty targets will be met. Is enough being done across Government and are further initiatives needed?

  • Comparisons between child poverty within the UK and other countries
The Committee hopes to hold oral evidence sessions in the autumn and welcomes written submissions, in accordance with the guidelines below, by 11 September 2003.

Evidence submitted should:
  • Be on A4 paper, including letterhead with full postal address and contact details

  • Begin with a one page summary

  • Have numbered paragraphs

  • Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material

  • Be in a form which is easy to photocopy
  • Be accompanied, if possible, by a disk (with the document in WordPerfect or Word)
Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. Submissions should be sent to:

House of Commons
Work and Pensions Committee
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Fax: 020 7219 0580