Responding to Unicef report which puts the UK at the bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries, Councillor James Kempton, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Young People said:
“Unicef is right to draw attention to the extremely high rates of child poverty in the UK. This has significant consequences for London since the capital has the highest proportion of children in poverty in England.
“Government child poverty policies are falling short in London. One way the Government can make serious strides towards achieving its target of halving child poverty in the UK by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020 is to revise how it tackles child poverty in London.
“Policies like the childcare element of Working Tax Credits are not working in London as effectively as elsewhere in the country due to the capital’s significantly higher costs of housing, transport and childcare costs. Returning to work just doesn’t pay for low income families in London because of the loss of benefits that leave them trapped in poverty.
“Government action is urgently needed. As well as tackling benefit traps, this year’s comprehensive spending review is the Government’s best opportunity to ensure London has the resources it needs to tackle child poverty.
“In addition to borough initiatives, London Councils has established the London Child Poverty Commission with the Mayor of London to take forward this work. London boroughs are keen to play their part in working with the Government in making the difference on this vital issue.”