Responding to the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, Anita Tiessen, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK says:
“The Comprehensive Spending Review puts the government dangerously off course to meet its own target to end child poverty by 2020. This target was agreed by all political parties in 2010 and has become even more important in these harsh economic times.
“Child poverty did not even warrant a mention in the Chancellor’s speech, despite the fact that recent statistics show that 300,000 more children fell into absolute poverty in the UK last year – the biggest rise in two decades. Since then major austerity measures – like cuts to council tax benefit and the introduction of the bedroom tax – have come into force, which means the numbers of children growing up in poverty are likely to be even higher."
“The Chancellor reaffirmed his policy of getting people into work but the truth is that for a growing number of families work isn't paying. What was striking in the recently published child poverty figures is that around two thirds of children live in families where at least one adult is in work and yet they are still living in poverty. School spending is being protected, but progress in education will be short-lived in the long-term if poverty is not tackled."
“The Government needs to do all it can to stop the heaviest burden of the economic recession falling onto those least able to sustain it. Protecting childhood and ending child poverty is not only essential for the well-being and development of those who are children today, but also for the well-being of society in the future. It is a commitment that must not be set aside, even temporarily.”
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UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk