The nature of poverty in the UK has changed dramatically.
The number of people living in poverty doubled between 1979 and 1999.
Since then the Government has managed to reduce the overall numbers of people living in poverty; however almost 13 million people still live below the poverty line.
The face of poverty has also changed. Children have replaced pensioners as the most 'at-risk' group. There are now 4 million children living in poverty - one in three - with even higher rates in urban areas such as London and Manchester.
Poverty experienced during childhood can have a profound and lasting impact on the child and their family. It often sets in motion a deepening spiral of social exclusion, creating problems with education, employment, mental and physical health and social interaction.
The Government has pledged to halve the numbers by 2010 and eliminate child poverty by 2020, but those goals are now in jeopardy due to a lack of money and social support.
In the mean time the problems continue. Growing up in poverty hurts.
Poor children are excluded from participating in society. They can’t afford school trips and activities; school uniforms or warm winter clothes, are unable to go swimming, have friends round for tea or celebrate their birthdays. Many will never have a holiday.
Child poverty costs us all, both financially and socially. Children who grow up poor are more likely to leave school without qualifications, have lower employment chances, thus restricting their ability to get a good job and financially contribute to society.
Estimates are that child poverty currently costs society £25 billion each year. So organisations across the private and public sectors are working with others to eradicate child poverty and you can help.
We need to ensure that Governments invest the resources needed to meet the 2020 target of ending child poverty in a lifetime. This requires action not just on income poverty, but also on other areas including tackling poor education outcomes and lack of employment, health inequalities and providing affordable housing.
With your support the Campaign to End Child Poverty can pressurise ministers into taking the action necessary to ensure an end child poverty. They have to commit the resources required to tackle the causes, as well as the symptoms, of poverty.