Bill sets 2020 target to end child poverty

The Government's high-profile promise to eradicate child poverty by 2020 was made legally binding under plans in the Queen's Speech.

Tony Blair set the ambitious target in 1999, when there were estimated to be some 3.4 million youngsters living in deprivation.

He also laid down an interim goal of halving child poverty by 2010.

However, despite around 600,000 being lifted out of relative poverty so far, campaigners have consistently warned that the Government is not doing enough to meet its pledges.

In March, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee said the first target was likely to be missed by around a million.

The Child Poverty Bill is designed to give "new impetus" to the Government's goals, although significantly it is not expected to make any reference to the 2010 target.

Making progress on achieving the reduction could be particularly difficult amid the current economic downturn.