It is possible that some actually take the Centre for Social justice, set up by proven liar Iain Duncan Smith, seriously. If it weren’t seeking to justify so much harm this would be a farcical state of affairs. Here is an example of their failure to meet even a basic level of literacy never mind anything else.
Reality v Rethinking Child Poverty
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, will today take the first steps to downgrade the Labour government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty in 2020 by announcing that he is to publish a green paper looking at a range of new non-income indicators of poverty.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/13/child-poverty-target-tories-move June 13,2102
The controversy of this new approach, which the Centre for Social Justice has been advocating and Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is now looking to adopt with the announcement that he is to consult on additional non-income indicators of poverty, surprises people in the real world. Let’s hope a serious debate follows about developing measures for things such as the number of children living in workless households and attending failing schools, the number of children who have parents with mental health problems, or severe personal debt or addictions.
Merely persisting in the pursuit of marginal income tweaks to chase numbers on a graph would fail the children who most need our help. With the right approach, think what could be achieved for those children at the side of the road.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/14/children-poverty-figures June 14, 2012
From 2003, yes 2003
The most recent (fifth) Opportunity for all report was published in September 2003.
The indicators which are tracked in Opportunity for all reflect the Government’s view that poverty is a multi-dimensional phenomenon.
There are separate indicators for three population groups – children and young people, people of working age and older people – and an additional set of indicators for communities.
The indicators for children and young people, for example, comprise:
· Children in workless households
· Low income (relative, absolute and persistent measures)
· Teenage pregnancy (teenage conceptions, and teenage parents not in education,employment or training)
· Key Stage 1 (7-year-olds) attainment in Sure Start areas
· Key Stage 2 (11-year-olds) attainment
· 16-year-olds with at least one GCSE
. 19-year-olds with at least a Level 2 qualification
· Truancies · School exclusions
· Educational attainment of children looked after by local authorities
· 16- to 18-year-olds in learning
· Infant mortality · Serious unintentional injury
· Smoking rates (for pregnant women, and children aged 11–15)
· Re-registrations on Child Protection Register
· Housing that falls below the set standard of decency
(The DWP no longer produce Opportunity for All Reports - see below)
Poverty is not just about income
The Government says that poverty is not just about income; it is about a lack of opportunity,
aspiration and stability. Yet its own measure of child poverty, which was inherited from the
previous Government, fails to capture this. The narrow income-related targets set out in the
Child Poverty Act incentivise the Government to throw ever-increasing sums of money at
the problem. However, on the basis of overwhelming evidence from the UK’s most deprived
communities, the CSJ is clear that poverty is a multifaceted phenomenon which cannot be
eradicated without an acknowledgement of its key drivers: family breakdown, educational
failure, economic dependency and worklessness, addiction and serious personal debt. These
drivers diminish the future opportunities of a child and so must also be at the heart of any
serious attempt to measure poverty.
What does the Act actually say?
Child Poverty Act 2010
An Act to set targets relating to the eradication of child poverty, and to make other provision about child poverty.
[25th March 2010]
9 UK strategies
(1)The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, publish and lay before Parliament the first UK strategy.
(2)A “UK strategy” is a strategy under this section setting out the measures that the Secretary of State proposes to take—
(a)for the purpose of complying with section 2 (duty to ensure that targets are met), and
(b)for the purpose of ensuring as far as possible that children in the United Kingdom do not experience socio-economic disadvantage.
(3)A UK strategy may also refer to proposals of the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers or the relevant Northern Ireland department.
(4)Before the end of the period to which a UK strategy relates, the Secretary of State must review the strategy and publish and lay before Parliament a revised UK strategy, but this subsection does not apply after the beginning of the target year.
(5)In preparing a UK strategy, the Secretary of State must consider what (if any) measures ought to be taken in each of the following areas—
(a)the promotion and facilitation of the employment of parents or of the development of the skills of parents,
(b)the provision of financial support for children and parents,
(c)the provision of information, advice and assistance to parents and the promotion of parenting skills,
(d)physical and mental health, education, childcare and social services, and
(e)housing, the built or natural environment and the promotion of social inclusion.
(6)When considering for the purpose of a UK strategy what measures ought to be taken in relation to each of those areas, the Secretary of State—
(a)must consider which groups of children in the United Kingdom appear to be disproportionately affected by socio-economic disadvantage, and
(b)must consider the likely impact of each measure on children within each of those groups.
(7)A UK strategy must—
(a)where it relates to a period ending before the end of the target year—
(i)describe the progress that the Secretary of State considers needs to be made by the end of the period to which the strategy relates if the targets in sections 3 to 6 are to be met in relation to the United Kingdom in relation to the target year, and
(ii)describe the other progress that the Secretary of State intends to make by the end of the period to which the strategy relates in achieving the purpose mentioned in subsection (2)(b), and
(b)describe the progress that the Secretary of State intends to make by the end of the target year in achieving the purpose mentioned in subsection (2)(b), otherwise than by ensuring that the targets are met.
(8)A UK strategy other than the first must also—
(a)describe the measures taken in accordance with the previous UK strategy and the measures taken in accordance with a Scottish strategy, a Welsh strategy or a Northern Ireland strategy,
(b)describe the effect of those measures on progress towards meeting the targets in sections 3 to 6, and
(c)describe other effects of those measures that contribute to the achievement of the purpose mentioned in subsection (2)(b).
(9)References in this section to the period to which a UK strategy relates are references to the period beginning with the date on which the UK strategy is laid before Parliament and—
(a)except in the case of a UK strategy laid before Parliament less than 3 years before the beginning of the target year, ending 3 years later, and
(b)in that excepted case, ending with the target year.
The CSJ report continues:
A new approach to measuring child poverty
The Child Poverty Act requires the Government to develop a Child Poverty Strategy which will be revised every three years. We broadly welcome the Coalition’s first Strategy, Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families’ Lives, as it signals a shift away from the narrow income-based poverty targets.The inclusion of family circumstances, children’s life chances and family structure as indicators are positive additions. However, as it stands, only the family resources section of the strategy (i.e. income poverty) is legislated for under the Child Poverty Act.
The CSJ strongly believes that any strategy to tackle poverty should focus on the root causes of deprivation and the social breakdown which fuels it, not the symptoms. Yet the way the previous Government conceptualised and sought to measure poverty is deeply flawed. The legacy of this is a narrow and one-dimensional Child Poverty Act which focuses solely on income and material deprivation. This is despite huge swathes of evidence to demonstrate that poverty is about far more than this.
The National Action Plans on Social Exclusion
This replaced the Opportunity for All Report in 2008.
The new reporting framework agreed with the European Commission states that in describing the social situation in the National Action Plan ‘Member States are expected to use at least the primary indicators in their national strategy reports, if only to remind themselves that in the context of the EU social inclusion process poverty and social exclusion are a relative concept that encompasses income, access to essential durables, education, health care, adequate housing, distance from the labour market.’
It is virtually incredible that anyone should take the CSJ seriously as a reliable, trustworthy or worthwhile contributor to the debate on poverty.