The Child Poverty Act was passed last month, enshrining in legislation the target of eradicating child poverty by 2020. In this ‘A New Approach to Child Poverty’ was born – a strategy of tackling the causes of disadvantage and transforming families’ lives.
It announces a “new approach” to tackling child poverty, described as a movement away from the previous administration’s focus on income and towards a focus on “the root causes of poverty”: “our strategy for poverty” says the Government, “is about transforming lives, not just maintaining them on marginally higher incomes”.
The strategy has a mixed message for local authorities. It emphasises the importance of their role in tackling child poverty, and the need to adapt strategies to the local context whilst also sharing knowledge and best practice across the wider community.
The ‘Core Offer’ of support designed to help local authorities put together local child poverty needs assessments and strategies is useful, as is the Department for Education’s online guide to the Child Poverty Pilots. However, whilst emphasising the role of local authorities, and celebrating services such as Sure Start, the strategy carefully avoids the difficulties local authorities face in maintaining many of these services following cuts such as the one carefully disguised within the Early Intervention Grant.
This post is based on a LGiU members briefing written by Toby Hill. Briefings are available through individual subscriptions and accessible to all officers and elected members of our member authorities. For more information on joining the Local Government Information Unit please follow this link.