MPs and charities say political focus on reducing level of child poverty in UK has been lost as team is merged into Department for Work and Pensions
inisters have abolished the civil service’s once high-profile child poverty unit, prompting warnings from MPs and charities that political focus on the issue has been abandoned by Theresa May.
The admission came in answers to parliamentary questions, which revealed that the team set up under Tony Blair’s government has been subsumed into the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), after seeing its staffing halved in three years.
Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP whose questioning uncovered the closure, said the decision ran contrary to the May’s pledge to govern on the basis of social justice and equal life chances.
“When the prime minister stood on the steps of Downing Street, she promised to fight the burning injustice of being born poor and lead a government that worked for everyone,” he said. “Having a country that works for everyone requires a government prepared to both help those who fall behind and stop people being disadvantaged from the outset. Theresa May has no unit, no target and no intention of eliminating child poverty.”
There were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2014-15, according to DWP figures quoted by the Child Poverty Action Group, amounting to 28% of all children in the UK.