In 1999, Tony Blair committed the Government to abolishing child poverty by 2020. In 2006, the Conservative opposition endorsed this aim, and in 2009 the Government introduced a Child Poverty Bill which requires all future governments to meet four child poverty targets.
It is difficult to criticise these targets, for nobody wants to object to policies intended to rescue children from poverty. But the way the Government is defining and measuring poverty is badly flawed, and the new Bill has more to do with redistributing incomes and increasing welfare payments than with tackling the underlying causes of child poverty.
This Research Note recommends that the current child poverty targets should be replaced and the Child Poverty Bill withdrawn. We are not, however, arguing that the Government should abandon its broader concern to improve child wellbeing and the causes of poverty.