Unicef expert: CSR 'a disaster'

By Alison Bennett

| 06 November 2007

One of the key authors of the Unicef report into child wellbeing has branded the government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) a "disaster".

Jonathan Bradshaw was one of the authors of the hard-hitting Child Poverty In Perspective report in February, which ranked the UK as the worst industrialised nation for children's wellbeing.

Speaking at Children in Scotland's annual conference last week, Bradshaw labelled the UK's child poverty position as "dire" compared to other nations.

"The CSR was a disaster for the child poverty strategy," Bradshaw said. "It's just the wrong strategy to pursue if you aim to halve child poverty by 2010."

He said raising the inheritance tax threshold and child tax credits would not help end child poverty.

Bradshaw said if the government really wanted to combat the problem it needed to increase taxes. "In order to achieve the goal, government needs to spend £3.8bn," he said. "You can't do that unless you raise taxes. A willingness to invest in our children is a key issue in the child poverty strategy. We have to tax to lift more people out of poverty."

He said society needed to take more responsibility for helping disadvantaged children. "There is a tendency in society and among ministers to blame the poor, unemployment and antisocial behaviour," he said. "There's an unwillingness to recognise the inequality that underlies it."

Ross Hendry, head of public affairs at children's charity NCH, said government investment was only part of the solution. "Government activity needs to be coupled with more widespread public support for eradicating child poverty," he said.

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