Big names link up to lobby for end to child poverty

Oxfam, RNID and Barnardo's are among the sector's big names backing a radical 10-point charter to lift 1 million children out of poverty by the end of the decade.

The charter, published today by the End Child Poverty coalition, includes demands to raise the minimum wage, extend child benefit to pregnant women, and link welfare benefits to average incomes. The alliance says the policies will enable the Government to meet its pledge to halve child poverty by 2010.

"Charities are daily confronted by the way poverty blights children's lives and blunts their expectations for the future," said director Jonathan Stearn.

"More than 40 household names have come together under the End Child Poverty banner to develop 10 policy proposals which, if implemented, would have a huge impact on the lives of the 3.6 million children in the UK living in poverty."

According to government figures, 600,000 children have been taken out of poverty, defined as living on less than 60 per cent of median income, since 1999.

But Stearn said ministers face a more difficult task reaching groups such as children from ethnic minorities or those with disabilities who have not been helped by changes to the benefit system and tax credits.

Benefit levels also remain 20 and 30 per cent below the poverty line.

The Child Poverty Action Group has backed the charter, but also released a separate manifesto to mark its 40th anniversary.

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