Bishop of St Albans presses Government on child poverty strategy (Written Answer)

On 11th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer from the Department for Work and Pensions to two written questions on child poverty.

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have carried out any forecasts of the level of child poverty between now and 2020; and if so, whether they will be made public.[HL3230]

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have calculated the impact on child poverty of the combined tax and benefit policy changes announced to date since May 2010.[HL3231]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government does not produce forecasts of the number of children living in income poverty as the number of children in poverty is dependent on factors which cannot be reliably predicted, such as the median income.

The Government does measure annual child poverty statistics through the National Statistics Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. Estimates of the number and proportion of children in relative and absolute low income in the UK have consistently been reported since 1998/99; these are available for each financial year up to 2012/13, the latest period for which estimates are available.

There has been no assessment of the impact on child poverty of the combined tax and benefit changes announced since May 2010. Available survey data does not allow the Government to robustly assess the combined effects of tax and benefit policy on households with children.

However, this Government has taken unprecedented steps to assess the effects of its policy decisions across the distribution of household income, by publishing analysis of the cumulative effects of the tax and welfare measures announced at each fiscal event since the June Budget 2010. The latest analysis can be found in Chapter 2 of the attached report.

(via Parliament.uk)