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Government off target on child poverty

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10/03/2006

Tony Blair’s pledge to eradicate child poverty by 2020 has missed its first target.

The Government’s aim was to cut the number of children in poverty from 4.1 million to 3.1 million by April 2005, but according to Department of Work and Pensions figures the number fell only by 700,000 during that period.

Ministers claimed that the Government remains committed to abolishing poverty, but opposition MPs called the figures “disturbing” and “disappointing”. Shadow work and pensions secretary, Philip Hammond, said: “These figures prove that the State alone cannot eradicate child poverty.”

Support for his viewpoint came from financial adviser Martin Cunningham. “Tony Blair likes to make grand statements about wiping out poverty and the like but they lack economic feasibility,” he said. “The real way forward is hard work and setting realistic targets.”

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