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Poverty: Greater London

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 28th November 2014.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Labour, Hackney North and Stoke Newington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce poverty among adults and children in (a) London and (b) the London Borough of Hackney.

Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Labour, Hackney North and Stoke Newington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce poverty among (a) adults and (b) children in Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Government is committed to our goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.

The 2014-17 Child Poverty Strategy outlines our plans to tackle the root causes of poverty, including worklessness, low earnings and educational failure. This approach reflects the reality of child poverty in the UK today and is the only way to achieve lasting change to protect the poorest in society.

Under this Government, 300,000 fewer children are in relative income poverty, around 390,000 fewer children are growing up in workless families, the attainment gap for deprived pupils has narrowed, and we have recently seen the largest annual fall in unemployment on record.[1]

But central Government cannot, by itself, end child poverty. Where people live matters. This Government has taken action to give local areas more freedom to do what people want and need locally including by providing local data that helps users identify specific local challenges. Local Authorities are required to have their own local child poverty strategies.

Further information is outlined in the Child Poverty Strategy. Local data is also published in the child poverty basket of indicators.

Child Poverty Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-poverty-strategy-2014-to-2017

Child Poverty basket of indicators: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-poverty-basket-of-local-indicators

Our strategy is not just focussed on children; Universal Credit will reduce poverty by making work pay and providing an effective route out of poverty.

This Government’s welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities by promoting work and helping people to lift themselves out of poverty.

  • Up to 300,000 more people are likely to be in work as a result of Universal Credit, through improved financial incentives, increased simplicity of the system and increased conditionality.
  • Universal Credit aims to ensure that work – even small amounts – will pay. This removes long-standing barriers that deter people on benefit from working.

The Government recognises the immediate pressure on households and has responded with a range of policy interventions including:

· Providing funding for successive Council Tax freezes, saving the average household £1,100 during this Parliament.

· Increasing the National Minimum Wage rate to £6.50 from October 2014, the first real terms increase since 2007.

· The largest ever increases in the income tax personal allowance, to £10,500 by April 2015, will save a typical taxpayer £805 per year compared to 2010, and will lift 3.2 million individuals out of income tax altogether by 2015/16.

[1] Based on Labour Market Statistics published in October 2014. In June-August 2014, there were 538,000 fewer unemployed people compared to a year earlier.

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