During the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, End Child Poverty called on the government to keep measuring child poverty. Through our Money Matters campaign, nearly 5,000 emails were sent to MPs and Peers to advocate for retaining UK poverty measurement so that we can continue to ensure that families have enough. The government listened and have responded to our concerns, and have now committed to measuring child poverty.
The government had proposed to stop reporting on child poverty and instead focus on how well children do in their GCSEs and whether their parents have a job or not. These are important issues, but they don’t get to the crux of whether child poverty is a prevalent issue in the UK. We campaigned to prevent the government from effectively ignoring the 2.4 million children living in poverty who are in working families.
Following a Government amendment to the Bill, a change was agreed which ensures that the Government have a continuing legally binding commitment to measure and report on Child Poverty in the UK.
The amendment is extremely similar to the one tabled by the Bishop of Durham which was supported by End Child Poverty, voted through by the Lords in the face of opposition from the Government, and then was overturned in the Commons in February.
It is fantastic news that the Money Matters campaign ensured that the Government reconsidered their approach to this. The change will both secure that the child poverty measures cannot be removed without Parliamentary approval, and crucially, sends the right message about the serious impact of low income on children’s wellbeing and life chances.
In his speech on this amendment, the responsible Minister, Lord Freud noted:
“Given the doubts and concerns that remain about the continued publication of this low-income data, I am able to say that we have listened, we have heard and we are willing to provide further guarantees. Three of the four income measures—including relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, and absolute low income—are already routinely published in the HBAI publication.
Through the government amendment we are putting forward today, we propose to place a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to publish this information annually.”
End Child Poverty members have played a crucial role in securing these amendments.
- Nearly 2600 emails were sent to Peers from End Child Poverty campaigners, asking them to support the Bishop of Durham’s amendment to the Bill.
- The follow up MP email action engaged with 2350 supporters across 609 constituencies.
- End Child Poverty secured widespread media coverage throughout the campaign – including in the Observer, the Independent, the Mirror and the Guardian.
‘Now You See Them… Now You Don’t…’ End Child Poverty members from a range of different organisations joined together outside the Houses of Parliament on 25th January 2016 to ask the Government to keep reporting on child poverty.