Children's Commissioner 's statement on Unicef's "Measuring Child Poverty" report
29 May 2012
Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England said "Today's report from UNICEF provides a highly useful snapshot of the UK's record on tackling child poverty. The international comparison reveals that our children are clearly not the poorest or most deprived amongst the world's richest nations. Targets for reducing child poverty set by the previous Government were not met. However UNICEF's findings are that some of the policies put in place before 2009* were starting to lift families, and therefore their children, out of poverty.
This means it is all the more important that the Government heeds the warnings in this report - some of them specific to the UK. The four UK Children's Commissioners in their joint report last November, my office in January this year, and this UNICEF study all warn of the same thing. The recession and current welfare reforms, taken together, look likely to pull many more of our children into poverty.
While UNICEF's league tables provide some encouragement about the progress made in recent years, without a dramatic change in policy the UK will not meet the Government's target to end child poverty by 2020. My plea is that we do more than keep a close eye on the potential impact of the economic downturn on our children. We must act and policy must seek, to protect our most vulnerable. Children, after all, cannot do this for themselves. Adults must act for them."
* (the latest year for which confirmed international data is available)
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