Poverty coalition End Child Poverty has welcomed the government's plans to establish a new measure of youth deprivation but warned that "income will always be vital for ending child poverty".

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is expected to announce today that "simply focusing on income levels is too narrow and other factors should be considered when defining child poverty".

The move comes after recent figures showed 300,000 fewer children in the UK were defined as 'below the poverty line' or living on household wages less than 60% of the national average.

However, this was largely because falling wages have narrowed the gap between the poorest and average earners rather than poorer families becoming better off [read our blog Fall in child poverty levels is just an illusion]. 

Enver Solomon, Chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, believes a move too far away from the current measure would create a false picture of child poverty in this country.

"We welcome the opportunity to build on the four core poverty measures [absolute poverty; relative poverty; material deprivation and persistent poverty] from the Child Poverty Act, by measuring some additional drivers of poverty," he said.

"But there is no getting away from the fact that a child's family income is fundamental to their future life chances. With the numbers living in poverty expected to rise significantly in the next few years it is equally important that the government assesses which policies are most effective, how best to allocate resources and that there is a cross government commitment to prioritising the issue."

The Campaign to End Child Poverty is made up of more than 150 organisations including children's charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups and trade unions

The new DWP measure is expected to incorporate joblessness, educational failure and family breakdown as well as income in order to ensure "a more accurate measure of how life is for children".

For more information visitwww.endchildpoverty.org.uk   

Posted 15/11/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com