The left wing has much to say about child poverty and try to define it by some amorphous measurement meaning there will always be poor children. In the UK they are moving to address this, not by spending billions more in welfare which doesn’t do anything for the statistics, rather they are looking at establishing better measurements:
Child poverty is to be measured by how long children have two birth parents looking after them, the length of worklessness in households and school achievement under controversial new plans to be set out on Thursday.
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, will downgrade Labour’s system of measuring poverty relative to the rest of the population, which he believes can provide a skewed picture of household finances.
A new range of indicators will be introduced including family stability, worklessness and educational achievement. Duncan Smith, in a joint move with the schools minister, David Laws, will say the new measures better reflect the reality of poverty in the UK today.
He will stress the most recent figures, showing that since the coalition was formed in 2010, 300,000 children had moved out of relative income poverty, the number of households living below the median income. But he will point out that this fall is due to a decline in the median income nationally, which pushed the poverty line down, and the children defined as moving out of poverty were no better off in absolute terms than before.
Poverty is currently measured by the number of households living at or below 60% of the median income. Labour set a target to reduce the number of children living in relative income poverty to 1.7 million by 2010-11. This was not met; in 2010-11, 2.3 million children were living in relative income poverty. It also vowed to abolish poverty by 2020 and set this goal in statute.
Duncan Smith will say: “As we saw earlier this year, when the child poverty level dropped by 2%, a fall in the median income may lift a family out of poverty on paper. Yet … real incomes did not rise and absolute poverty was unchanged.” For the 300,000 children no longer in poverty according to the official statistics, life was no different.
He will add: “A fixation on relative income, on moving people over an arbitrary line … does little to identify those most in need and entrenched in disadvantage, nor to transform their lives.