Now you see it… Now you don’t. The government’s rustled up a party trick for the kids this Christmas. They’re going to make 3.7 million of them disappear.
Britain’s children aren’t going anywhere, of course, particularly those who are growing up poor. But with a legislative sleight of hand, the government plans to quietly give up on the targets to end child poverty enshrined (with cross-party support) in the Child Poverty Act 2010.
And with it, they’re hoping to magic away any mention of child poverty at all. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission will become the Social Mobility Commission. The Child Poverty Act will become the Life Chances Act.
All this is more than a little politically convenient. Apart from a solitary BBC Today programme interview with Iain Duncan Smith last year, which left presenter Evan Davis audibly flabbergasted, not even the Government claims it is on track to meet the child poverty targets.
Indeed, the latest available projections, from the Resolution Foundation, warn child poverty will rise from 2.3m children to 3.3m by 2020 – a figure that will be even higher once the poverty-producing impact of the Summer Budget and the Autumn Statement is totted up.
I suppose there may be a few chimneys left for them to sweep and the poverty will keep them small enough.