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Personal Income

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th September 2013.

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Photo of Eilidh Whiteford Eilidh Whiteford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Agriculture and Fisheries)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what targets his Department has set for reducing income inequality; and what its policy is on the social effect of income inequality.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government is committed to tackling inequality and ensuring that people can overcome the challenges that mean they are stuck in cycles of poverty. As well as improving education and tackling problem debt, the Government is determined to reform the welfare system to encourage work and help people capitalise on their potential.

The Government is committed to tackling child poverty and to the Child Poverty Act 2010. Relative income poverty, which is a measure of inequality, is one of the targets in the Act. However, while the Government recognises that income is important, income in isolation does not present a full picture of what living in poverty means in the UK. We have consulted on better measures of child poverty that capture its causes. The complexity of the issue means that we need to take time to ensure we have the best option for measuring child poverty, so that we can ensure we properly tackle the causes. We will publish our response as soon as we can.

The Government is taking action to help the most vulnerable in society, including those in low income. In April 2013, DWP published its report ‘Social Justice: transforming lives—One year on’ which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/203041/CM_8606_Social_Justice_tagged-mw.pdf

This includes action to help troubled families turn their lives around, make sure that children are properly supported so that they complete their education, and work with the voluntary, public and private sectors to deal more effectively with complex problems.

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