Government child poverty targets not met

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Indy Politics

Ministers have admitted their failure to cut child poverty by a quarter, a target set by Tony Blair in 1999.

The annual statistics on poor households showed 3.4 million children were living in poverty last year - 300,000 more than the target set in 1999. These figures are measured after housing costs are taken into account. In future, the Government will exclude housing costs. By this measure it fell only 50,000 short last year.

Margaret Hodge, the Employment minister, said: "I do not think it is a failure. The fact that we got so close is something I am immensely proud of."

But Frank Field, the former minister for welfare reform, said: "A major rethink of the Government's anti-poverty strategy is now required with unemployment rising, no new money to make a substantial lift in the value of tax credits and with the pot of money for major new welfare reform projects now empty."