Treasury claims on child poverty don’t stack up
This week’s Budget claimed that by 2012/13 the Government’s measures ‘could’ take 50,000 children out of poverty. Although this claim was heavily caveated (the Budget document states that estimates are uncertain and may be on the edge of statistical significance) it is at odds with December’s IFS analysis which suggested that over the same period relative child poverty would remain roughly constant, with the Government’s tax and benefit changes acting to increase poverty levels by 100,000.
How can this be? The answer appears to be revealed in the Budget policy costings document, which lists the benefits which the Treasury has included in its model. Surprise, the Treasury only includes two-thirds of the tax credit and benefit changes in its model and many of those which are excluded will have a significant impact for families with children. Most significnatly the excluded cuts include the majority of the reductions in Housing Benefit but also the abolition of the Sure Start Maternity Grant, the Health in Pregnancy Grant and the Child Trust Fund.
I know whose estimates I would rather believe.