Brown in new drive to end child poverty

Andrew Grice@IndyPolitics
Tuesday 13 July 1999 23:02

GORDON BROWN will make new measures to combat child poverty the centrepiece of his next Budget in an attempt to reassure Labour's traditional supporters that the Government has not abandoned them.

Tax and benefit reforms to "make work pay" for jobless people will be outlined by the Chancellor when he unveils his draft Budget in November, ahead of the Budget in March. They are expected to include an extension of the "new deal" programme for the jobless.

The Government says its measures have already lifted 800,000 children out of poverty and Mr Brown will today announce a new target of raising the figure to one million by next year.

"Child poverty is a scar on the soul of Britain," Mr Brown will say in a speech to anti-poverty campaigners, experts and academics. "We will help families who try hard to help themselves, are good citizens and responsible parents but who, without a platform of opportunity from which to succeed, are today denied the chance to realise the potential they are born with."

Mr Brown will say the new target will be the first milestone on the road to achieving Tony Blair's pledge to eliminate child poverty in 20 years.

The Chancellor will outline a four-point plan - tackling the problem at its source by providing job, extra cash help for families and reducing "in-work poverty"; improving public services; making all schools as good as the best and mobilising voluntary and community action.

Ministers hope Mr Brown's initiative, placing child poverty at the top of the Government's agenda, will placate Labour MPs who have been demanding more help for the party's core supporters.

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