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Child Poverty

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th October 2011.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 2:30 pm, 24th October 2011

What assessment he has made of the effect on child poverty of benefit changes in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13.

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Treasury projections show that modelled tax and benefit reforms announced since Budget 2010 may result in a small reduction in child poverty in 2011-12 and 2012-13. These include above-indexation increases to the child element of child tax credit by £180 in 2011-12 and £110 in 2012-13.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

I am slightly puzzled by the Secretary of State’s response. I am sure he is aware of the research published last week by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation predicting a huge rise in the number of children living in relative poverty—of perhaps 500,000 more—despite the Government’s introduction of the universal credit. Does he accept that child poverty is predicted to rise under his rule?

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The hon. Lady should not be so surprised given that I responded to the question she asked. The IFS projection deals with the tax and the benefits systems, but there are wider issues; we are addressing the pupil premium and other areas, which we think will also have an effect. The IFS projections are based on the premise that absolutely nothing changes, and I remind the hon. Lady that the last report showed that the previous Government were going to miss their 2010 targets before they left office.