Cherie Blair supporting campaign to lift one million children out of poverty

A new campaign is calling for a “united effort from every corner of society” to pull a million children out of relative poverty in the UK by 2030.

Human rights lawyer Cherie Blair is backing the urgent call, which is supported by various children’s charities.

Government figures published last month showed the number of children living in poverty across the UK had hit a record high.

There were an estimated 4.33 million children in households in relative low income after housing costs in the year to March 2023.

This was up from 4.22 million the previous year and was above the previous high of 4.28 million in the year to March 2020.

The latest figure was the highest since comparable records for the UK began in 2002/03.

The new Blueprint For Change campaign from those behind the Children’s Prosperity Plan is urging policy changes which it said can make a real difference.

These include scrapping the two-child limit which restricts support in Universal Credit and tax credits to two children in a family; abolishing the benefit cap which limits the amount of support a working-age household can receive from the social security system; and reducing the maximum deductions of debts from Universal Credit from 25% to 15%.

Mrs Blair (pictured), wife of former Labour prime minister Tony Blair, said: “I am pleased to be a launch supporter of the Children’s Prosperity Plan and their mission, which I think is ambitious yet imperative: to lift one million children in our country out of relative poverty by 2030.

“This goal is not just a number – it represents a million lives changed, a million futures brightened, and a million dreams revived.

“Achieving this requires more than just policy changes, it demands a united effort from every corner of society.

“From government bodies to private sector champions, from local communities to international partners, we must all come together in a grand coalition for our children.

“Mobilising this collective strength, we will ensure that the future of every child is defined not by the circumstances of their birth but by the boundlessness of their potential.”

Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, who is also supporting the campaign, said: “We should be ashamed at the levels of child poverty in Britain, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and at the lack of action to reduce it.”

She said the social security system is “penalising some of the poorest families” and hailed the proposals presented by the campaign as “sensible” ways to “lift many children out of poverty and reverse the recent rise in child poverty”.

She added: “Previous governments have cut child poverty – it can be done, and it should be a top priority for any government.”

The figures in March also showed a rise for the second year in a row, with 600,000 more people, half of them children, living in absolute poverty – equivalent to 25% of children.

Absolute poverty is the Government’s preferred measure, looking at households with less than 60% of the median income in 2010/11, uprated by inflation.

A Government spokesperson said: “There are 1.1 million fewer people living in absolute poverty compared to 2010, including 100,000 children and our £108 billion cost-of-living support package prevented 1.3 million people falling into poverty in 2022/23.

“Children are five times less likely to experience poverty if they are living in a household where all adults work compared to those in workless households.

“That is why we have reduced the number of children living in workless households by almost 700,000 and are rewarding hard work by raising the National Living Wage and cutting taxes, while our Back to Work Plan with expanded childcare support for parents will help over a million people to find, stay and succeed in work.”

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