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Budget must fulfil pledge to cut child poverty stress MPs

PUBLISHED: 16:10 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 12 August 2010

DEMAND: John Austin MP with a backdrop poster showing the End Child Poverty rally.

DEMAND: John Austin MP with a backdrop poster showing the End Child Poverty rally.

MPs have called on the Government to keep their promise of halving child poverty by next year. Labour MP for Erith and

MPs have called on the Government to keep their promise of halving child poverty by next year.

Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead called on the Chancellor Alistair Darling to make enough provisions in the budget which he is set to deliver on April 22, to meet the pledge.

Campaigners from charity End Child Poverty said the Chancellor needs to allocate at least £3 billion of the budget to the poorest families if the 2010 target is going to be met.

Mr Austin, who is retiring at the next election, said: "The Labour Government has made huge strides in tackling child poverty but more needs to be done. Giving money to the poorest families not only helps them but is one of the quickest ways of boosting the economy.

"Barack Obama has recognised this and I am urging the Chancellor to put vulnerable children at the top of his agenda in the coming budget."

Figures from End Child Poverty from August 2006 show that 19 per cent of Bexley's children were living in poverty, compared with 18 per cent in Bromley and 35 per cent in Greenwich.

These figures are likely to have increased due to the recession as they are taken from the percentage of children in families of out of work benefits or working tax credits.

On Tuesday a new charity called Mayor's Fund was launched which aims to give cash to project across the capital with a proven track record in tackling child poverty.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is patron of the new charity whose funds are solely raised from private donors.

Chair Sir Trevor Chinn aims to have an annual turnover of up to £20million by 2013, spending £1.5million this year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Children Schools and Families said: "This Government is determined to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life and tackling child poverty is an essential part of this. Over the last decade we have seen the biggest fall in child poverty of any European country, but there is still more to do. While we recognise the scale of the challenge, we are determined to meet our ambitious goals which is why we will enshrine our commitment in legislation.

"It is important to remember that tackling the underlying causes and consequences of child poverty requires a combination of financial support, help for parents to find and enter work and improved public services including our investment in Sure Start and action to break the historic link between poverty and educational attainment."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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