Labour Party Press Release:
The independent Office for Budget Responsibility should be tasked with monitoring and reporting on the government’s progress in tackling child poverty, Labour say.
Labour’s call follows figures earlier this month which show progress on reducing child poverty has stalled under David Cameron’s government. In 2012/13 relative child poverty before housing costs did not change, while measured after housing costs it rose by 100,000.
New analysis of the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics shows that under this government families with children have seen much bigger falls in their incomes than those without:
- – a couple with two children aged 5 and 14 are on average £2132 a year worse off in real terms since 2009/10, while a couple with no children are £1404 a year worse off.
- – a single person with two children aged 5 and 14 is on average £1664 a year worse off in real terms since 2009/10, while a single person with no children is £936 a year worse off.
Further analysis of the latest HBAI figures shows that material deprivation measures of child poverty are on the rise. Between 2009/10 and 2012/13:
- – 300,000 more children are living in families that can’t afford to keep their house warm – now a total of 1.7m children
- – 400,000 more children are living in families that can’t afford to make savings of £10 a month – now a total of 6m children
- – and half a million more children are living in families that can’t afford to replace broken electrical goods – now a total of 3.6m children
Catherine McKinnell MP, Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the Treasury said:
“David Cameron promised to lead the most family friendly government ever. But these figures show his choices have hit families with children hardest of all, while millionaires have been given a huge tax cut.
“The progress Labour made in reducing child poverty has ground to a halt under the Tories and independent forecasts say it is set to rise.
“This isn’t good enough. The Office for Budget Responsibility should be required to monitor and report on the government’s progress on reducing child poverty. This should include analysing the impact of Budget decisions on the level of child poverty.
“George Osborne hasn’t made a single mention of child poverty in his last three Budget speeches. Boosting the role of the OBR to monitor child poverty would make it more difficult for governments and Chancellors to ignore the problem and the impact of their choices.
“Labour’s plan to deal with the cost-of-living crisis will tackle child poverty and make work pay as we balance the books in a fairer way. We will expand free childcare, freeze energy bills, increase the minimum wage, incentivise the living wage, scrap the bedroom tax and get more homes built.”