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IDS urges change poverty indicator change

IDS urges change poverty indicator change

Iain Duncan Smith has called for a change to child poverty measures, insisting the UK must move away from the "narrow focus" of using only family income as an indicator.

Launching a government consultation at a children's centre in Deptford, the Work and Pensions Secretary outlined plans to broaden the indicators to include worklessness, education and family breakdown.

"It is widely understood that the current relative income measure by itself is not providing an accurate picture of child poverty," he said.

"Having such a narrow focus can drive perverse decisions, rather than asking whether a sustainable difference has been made to a family's life. This is about transforming their outcomes so they do not slip back below the 'poverty line'."

But Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, told The Independent that "the relative income poverty measure is the single best indicator of whether 'we're all in this together'".

Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Stephen Timms this morning said he had no problem with the Government looking at other indicators, but suggested ministers were seeking to distract people from a rise in child poverty because of Coalition policies. 

"What they mustn’t do is try and obfuscate what is actually happening about poverty at the moment. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that child poverty is going to rise by 400,000 over the course of this Parliament," he told BBC News.

Green Box: IDS urges change poverty indicator changeClick to open

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