Labour failing poor working families

10 Jan 08
Charities campaigning against child poverty have thrown their weight behind a think-tank report that highlights Labour's failure to help poor children from working families.

11 January 2008

Charities campaigning against child poverty have thrown their weight behind a think-tank report that highlights Labour's failure to help poor children from working families.

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research shows that the number of children from working families living in poverty has not changed since Labour came to power in 1997.

While Labour has lifted 600,000 children out of poverty, efforts to help the 'forgotten' 1.4 million children with one working parent have failed, according to the report, Working out of poverty. Half of all poor children live in a working household.

The IPPR said the government was failing to reward parents who got jobs, and that the benefits system did not encourage a second parent to work.

Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, warned that work often amounted to a new poverty trap. She added: 'The main plank of the government's strategy to end child poverty is failing.'

Kate Stanley, head of social policy at the IPPR, said: 'Tax credits and the minimum wage have “made work pay” relative to being on benefits, but these don't yet go far enough to ensure more children are lifted out of poverty.'

The report recommends increasing the minimum wage in line with average earnings growth and introducing a higher minimum wage in London.

It also calls for a new Personal Tax Credit Allowance to make working more attractive for both adults in a two-parent family.

The second parent would be able to earn up to £100 a week before their tax credits were reduced, a move the IPPR said would make a family earning the minimum wage £36 a week better off.

A Treasury spokesman said: 'The government is committed to meeting its target of halving child poverty by 2010, and decisions on tax credits and financial support will be taken in the Budget and Pre-Budget report in the usual way.'

 

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