Government cuts place more families under poverty threat, warn experts

Severe government budget cutbacks pose a “real danger” of pushing more families into poverty, ministers are warned today.

In a joint report, the UK’s four Children’s Commissioners said that they were “deeply concerned” that failure to properly assess the impact of funding reductions at all levels of government would leave some youngsters facing “disproportionate hardship”.

They have called for an urgent review of how the coalition’s spending cuts will affect vulnerable families and also for “vital” children’s services to be safeguarded.

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The commissioners, who promote the interests of children and young people, raise serious concerns about the “high levels of persistent poverty” across the UK.

About 3.8 million children – one in three – are living in relative poverty, the report has found.

Although the group acknowledges “tough decisions may be required” to revive Britain’s ailing economy, they fear “those most vulnerable in society” are being hit hardest.

Speaking on behalf of the four commissioners, Keith Towler, who holds the post in Wales, said: “We, as independent children’s champions, have a duty to hold UK government and its devolved administrations to account.

“We are in constant dialogue with our respective governments to ensure the rights, needs and best interests of every child are upheld.

“While there are developments to be proud of, we continue to see some of our society’s most vulnerable being denied a childhood. At the heart of our concerns are the high levels of persistent poverty across the UK.

“We fully acknowledge the considerable challenges facing governments on all levels and that tough decisions have to be made, but we are deeply concerned that, without assessing the impact of the severe cuts we’ve seen at all levels of government, we’re in real danger of pushing more families into poverty.”