Our goal is a society where no child's life is scarred by poverty, and where every child is given the best possible start in life and has the capabilities and opportunities to flourish. Children who grow up in poverty lack many of the experiences and opportunities that others take for granted, and can be exposed to severe hardship and social exclusion. Their childhood suffers as a result, which is unacceptable. In the current difficult economic times, our focus on tackling child poverty is even more important. Too often in the past, recessions and economic downturns have been allowed to affect the lives of children long after the country's economy has returned to growth.
Today, we set out the five principles that will guide our strategy on child poverty: first, that work is the most sustainable route out of poverty; secondly, that families and family life should be supported; thirdly, that early intervention is necessary to break cycles of deprivation; fourthly, that excellence in public service delivery is key; and fifthly, that cost-effectiveness and affordability are vital.
Worklessness in families and severe deprivation have not been tackled with the energy and drive needed to deal with entrenched disadvantage. In this context, it is right that we renew and strengthen our commitment to deliver on the 2020 goal through the Child Poverty Bill. The Bill will give us renewed impetus to deliver on our goals and to ensure that the right strategies and actions flow from it.
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