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Child Poverty Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:31 pm on 20th July 2009.

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Photo of Jamie Reed Jamie Reed Labour, Copeland 5:31 pm, 20th July 2009

My apologies to my hon. Friend, too, for not giving way.

Will the Government also ensure that the innovation, energy and insight of the third sector are put at the forefront of our efforts? In my experience, the flexibility of the voluntary sector can often-not always, but often-lead to more successful and productive outcomes than when statutory bodies pursue similar aims.

Tackling child poverty must be among the most important public spending priorities. The budgets relating to that policy agenda must be ring-fenced and, as a bold extension to that, we should further incentivise the benefits of employment for the poorest families in our society by taking them out of the taxation system altogether until they no longer live in poverty of any kind, be it relative or absolute. Finally, will the Government consider establishing pilot projects with the aim of defeating child poverty in discrete identified areas well before the 2020 deadline? I volunteer my constituency for such a pilot, and I look forward to the Government's response.

This Bill is precisely what my party, and this Government, are for. I commend Ministers and the Prime Minister for what has been achieved so far, but I urge them to be even bolder by bringing the target date of 2020 forward. Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of putting a man on the moon, but let us never forget that that feat was not the inevitable consequence of a pressing industrial or scientific need; it was the result of a political choice. Kennedy famously stated:

"We choose to go to the moon."

A combination of sufficient resources and political determination made it possible. Politics is about priorities and choices. The fact that 40 years after conquering the moon we should still be discussing the spectre of child poverty is a sickening tragedy and a savage indictment of our society, so let us choose to do more. Let us choose to defeat child poverty and to do so before 2020.

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