Schedule 1 — The Child Poverty Commission

Part of Bill Presented — Fiscal Responsibility – in the House of Commons at 6:28 pm on 9th December 2009.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 6:28 pm, 9th December 2009

In a sense, the hon. Gentleman is clearly right-the Bill prioritises the tackling of child poverty, and he is perfectly entitled to take the view either that it should not be a priority or that we should not presume that it should be a priority. However, I refer him to the situation in the 1980s, when tackling child poverty was neither a priority nor a statutory priority.

Rather shockingly, the hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire selectively started his history from 1987. He has done that before, but the first time he did so, I thought that it was done innocently; this time, I assume that it was done deliberately. It is worth remembering that the Conservatives started government with 1.7 million children in poverty and that that number rose to 2.8 million under them, so, at the point at which he started his figures, the Tories had already put 1 million children into poverty. He then glossed over the fact that another 500,000 children moved into poverty before the Tories left office. They therefore doubled child poverty. I do not doubt the personal sincerity of the hon. Gentleman one jot, but the idea that the Conservative party is the answer to child poverty is amazing.

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