The pennies and the pounds will still count

Posted by Dan Breslin / Tuesday 26 January 2016 / Cost of living Inequality
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The Government’s new approach to tackling child poverty, through a Life Chances Act, has gained headlines in recent months – as much for what it includes as for what it doesn’t.

Although the Government chose to not include any mention of income in the proposed new Act, yesterday the House of Lords voted overwhelmingly to force the Government to continue to report on the number of children living in low income households.

This is a great win for the End Child Poverty coalition, which Action for Children have been campaigning as part of. It shows what a big difference our amazing campaigners make. Thousands of messages were sent to Peers, with Action for Children supporters amongst the most active. You let them know you are watching and that the Government must not overlook income when seeking to improve children's prospects. You made the difference.

We know there is still more to be done. The Bill will go back to the House of Commons in the next few weeks. We need to make sure MPs have listened and keep the new requirement as part of the final Life Chances Act.

But once the Bill has made its way through Parliament the attention has to turn to how government can start to reduce the 3.7 million children currently living relative poverty. These children are missing out on everyday essentials many of us would take for granted, a warm coat in winter or going on a school trip with their classmates. Projections show that far from seeing these numbers fall, they are set to rise by 2020.

Reporting every year on the number of children living in poverty won't make a difference on its own. We need to make sure there is an adequate safety net for those families in the greatest need. We also have to make sure that families have enough income to cover the cost living, especially in the most expensive parts of the country.  

Even with more to be done it can't take away from yesterday's great news. You told politicians they can't make 3.7 million children in poverty disappear. They listened.

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