In response to the launch of the Government’s child poverty strategy consultation Alison Marshall, Director of Public Affairs UNICEF UK said:

‘The effects of child poverty cannot be tackled without addressing the cause – low household income. The launch of the Government’s Child Poverty Consultation is an opportunity for the Government to set clear goals, which are annually measured, for ending child poverty by 2020 that include benefits and income.’

‘Child poverty is the biggest single barrier to children being able to realise their rights in the UK. It is estimated to cost £25 billion a year through costs to business, the police, courts and health and education services. The recent UNICEF report on child inequality in developed countries, 'Children Left Behind,' clearly demonstrates that the most potent fact about children who fall behind their peers is that they are from families at the bottom end of the socio-economic scale. Addressing income poverty is crucial to giving the most disadvantaged children the best chance to fulfil their potential. We strongly support the targets in the Child Poverty Act.’

‘We encourage everyone concerned about the high levels of child poverty and inequality in the UK to respond to the Government’s child poverty strategy consultation.’

UNICEF UK is calling on the Government to:

* Set ambitious interim targets in the child poverty strategy for reducing the numbers of children living in poverty on the way towards eradicating child poverty in the UK by 2020.
* Address both benefits and income levels in the strategy.
* Apply a ‘fairness’ test to all proposed changes to the benefit, tax, health and education systems to ensure that new policies do not increase inequality between children.
* Design the new universal credit to ensure that no family with children has to live on less than a living wage.
* Promote the living wage.

Media Contact

For further information or images please contact Stephen Pattison, UNICEF UK on (0)20 7336 8922 or email


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.