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Child Poverty Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 20th July 2009.

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Photo of Julie Morgan Julie Morgan Labour, Cardiff North 6:41 pm, 20th July 2009

I agree, and I thank my hon. Friend for her contribution.

I strongly welcome the child poverty commission and was surprised that the Opposition criticised it. The commission is important because it will unite the whole UK in planning a strategy. It is important that the three devolved Administrations appoint members and that they are closely bound to it. The commission should operate as independently as possible. Some charities have suggested that it should be able to commission its own research. I hope that the Financial Secretary will comment on that when he replies to the debate.

Ending child poverty must mean ending poverty for every child in the UK, but some of our strategies do not reach every child. For example, in Wales, some strategies are based on locality, yet very poor children may live in more prosperous areas. I want to refer to two disadvantaged groups, which have already been mentioned in the debate. The first is the Gypsy and Traveller community, for whom there is not enough accommodation to bring up all children safely and healthily. The health statistics for Gypsy mothers and children are shocking. I want to ensure that any debate about child poverty and any targets will include children from that disadvantaged background. The second group is asylum seeker children, who are treated differently from other children in this country. They are very disadvantaged in many ways-for example, in income and access to services. Every child is a child, and I hope that any poverty strategies that arise from the Bill will take account of those two disadvantaged groups.

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