The Tories want to hide the effects of their policies on child poverty, Nick Clegg says

The former DPM accuses the Government of 'airbrushing'

Conservative plans to redefine child poverty amount to “airbrushing the effects” of their own policies, Nick Clegg has said.

The former Deputy Prime Minister, who served in coalition with the Tories between 2010 and 2015, said his former governing partners had tried to change the definition in the previous parliament.

“The Conservatives are now going to totally needlessly – there’s no economic rationale for it whatsoever – impose very stringent cuts on some of the most vulnerable families in this country,” he told LBC Radio.

“They’re trying to launder it, airbrush the effects, by re-writing how you measure child poverty – something, by the way, which they wanted to do in Coalition government which we said was not acceptable. “

Mr Clegg added that it was “not acceptable to change the goalposts to suit your own narrow ends”.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported yesterday that the Government wants to repeal the legally binding child poverty target in Labour’s Child Poverty Act, possibly as early as next month.

David Cameron has also hinted that the way child poverty is measured could be changed, ahead of the expected rise in the current metric.

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In a speech this week Mr Cameron criticised “the way [child poverty] is measured”, referring to the current arrangement as “absurd”.

The Conservative manifesto pledged to “introduce better measures to drive real change in children’s lives”.

The Centre For Social Justice think tank, which was set up by DWP secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has recommended that the Government should pay less attention to financial deprivation and focus on causal factors.

New figures released today showed that child poverty was flat last year.

Researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies have warned that £12bn planned cuts to welfare benefits due to be announced in the next budget are likely to increase poverty, however.

Mr Clegg was giving his first interview to LBC Radio after his party’s rout at the general election.

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