Child poverty is a serious issue in Britain which is apparent from the wide range of policies initiated by various governments over the years aimed at eradicating the social evil and ensuring a better and positive future for the children. According to available statistics almost half of children in one parliamentary constituency in the UK live in poverty and deprivation (BBC News, 2013). The statistics reveal the state of the ‘child poverty eradication program’ launched by the Blair government indicating a need to review the policies and ensure effective outcomes in the coming years. Child poverty not only affects those affected directly by it but also endangers the future of the country’s overall growth and progress. Poverty deprives the children of an opportunity to have equitable access to social and economic resources thus curtailing their ability to contribute to the growth and development of the nation. This essay aims at analysing and examining the current state of child poverty in Britain and assesses the effectiveness of various policies launched over the years to eradicate child poverty. Child poverty: Meaning, Definitions, and General Overview The UK government defines child poverty as "children living in households with needs adjusted ('equvalised') incomes below 60 per cent of the median income... Income is adjusted for different need (so called 'equivalisation') on the principle that the same income will stretch further in a smaller family than a larger one" (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2013). According to the definition it was declared that children living in households with incomes below 60 per cent of the median income. However this measure of poverty was eventually proved to be ineffective and was revised in the year 2010. The new definition sought to revise the previous measures used to calculate the number of children living in poverty. According to this revised local child poverty measure child poverty was proposed to be calculated as “The proportion of children in poverty is calculated as the number of children in families in receipt of either out of work benefits, or tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent median income divided by the total number of children in the area.” This definition was a part of the revised Child Poverty Act of 2010 (HM Revenue & Customs, 2013). However this definition failed to provide an accurate account of child poverty and proved to be highly misguiding since despite positive indicators implying improvement in the level and status of child poverty in the UK there was no significant change in the living conditions of the children identified as poor. According to statistics related to child poverty for the period 2010-11 there was a significant reduction in number of children living in poverty with as many as 300,000 children elevated from the poverty status over a period of three years from 2009 to 2011. It was however observed that the fall in child poverty figures was a response to the overall reduction in the national median income which resulted in a simultaneous reduction in the relative poverty line. The lives of these children however continued to remain disadvantaged and were found to be living in more or less similar living
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