Thursday, March 13, 2008

Child poverty

The bad news is that the spending announced in year's budget isn't enough to meet Labour's target of halving child poverty by 2010.

The good news is that it shows just how easily the government can achieve this target if it really wants to.

To meet the target, we need to be spending £4 billion more than at present on tax credits and benefits by 2010. In this year's budget, the government announced that it will be increasing spending by £1 billion. So next year, they need to find another £3 billion.

To put this in some sorts of context, increasing the cost of a pint by 4p, a bottle of wine by 14p and whisky by 55p raises £400 million, taxing big cars raises £1.2 billion, and we are spending £2 billion extra on supporting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between now and Christmas.

Rather than getting into a big fight about whether this year's budget means 'success' or 'failure' in tackling child poverty, we've got 12 months to build a consensus and making sure that next year's budget does what's needed. And if you want to help, the End Child Poverty Campaign would love to hear from you.

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