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Christian campaigner accuses government of trying to "magic away" child poverty
A Christian campaigner has urged peers to reject a bill which would scrap the government's legal requirement to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
It's as members of the House of Lords debate the government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which will also scrap the government's requirement to report and respond on the proportion of British children living in poverty, and re-define the way poverty is measured.
Specifically, if the bill passes child poverty would be defined through a child's school attainment and whether their parents are in work.
The End Child Poverty Coalition has said that of the 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK, nearly two thirds (2.4 million) are in working households. They argue that the government is in danger of accidentally, or purposely, ignoring millions of poor children who have working parents through their Welfare Reform and Work Bill.
Sam Royston, the Coalition's chair and also Policy Director at Christian charity The Children's Society told Premier: "At the moment the government is legally bound to measure and report each year on what child poverty looks like in the UK.
"We're worried that this bill removes that requirement, meaning that the government are 'magicing' away the problem of children living in low-income families.
"Those children are more likely to be absent from school, more likely to suffer mental health problems, and more likely to end up as adults with severe, life-limiting illnesses.
"The Child Poverty Act commits the government to target the eradication of child poverty in Britain by 2020. That is real aspiration and one we should stay committed to.
"By not even measuring or reporting, that aspiration feels like it could disappear."
The Department for Work and Pensions has been contacted for a response.
Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking to Sam Royston: