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Bristol expert backs bold national bid to save a million children in the UK from poverty

16 April 2024

An ambitious campaign to lift one million children from relative poverty in the UK was launched today – and leading child poverty researcher Professor David Gordon is among the top experts showing his support.

The Children’s Prosperity Plan calls for urgent policy changes to be made aimed at eradicating child poverty and raising one million children out of relative poverty by 2030.

Professor David Gordon, Director of the Bristol Poverty Institute, Director of the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, said: All politicians in the UK claim that they want to reduce child poverty. Yet child poverty is still increasing. 

“The economics of child poverty are very simple and are entirely concerned with redistribution – where sufficient resources are redistributed from adults to children there is no child poverty; where insufficient resources are redistributed from adults to children child poverty is inevitable.” 

International human rights lawyer and campaigner for equality Cherie Blair CBE KC and Anne Longfield, former Children's Commissioner for England, have also pledged their support for the apolitical plan.

The Blueprint for Change calls for removing the Universal Credit two-child limit, abolishing the benefit cap, and reducing maximum deductions from Universal Credit from 25% to 15%. 

Child poverty charities, including Child Poverty Action Group UK, Save the Children UK, The Childhood Trust, Buttle UK and The Food Foundation, are behind the campaign, along with researchers from the University of Bristol, University of Oxford, Loughborough University, University of Liverpool, and University of York.

Professor Gordon, who conducts international research to tackle child poverty and has worked with the United Nations, said: “This is not difficult to understand. We know what needs to be done to reduce poverty and this was achieved between 2000 and 2010. Reducing child poverty in the UK is affordable, what is lacking is the political will to fund the kinds of policies that we know will work.”

The Resolution Foundation calculates that abolishing both the two-child limit and benefit cap in 2024-25 would cost up to £3bn.

Commenting on the launch of the Children’s Prosperity Plan, Cherie Blair CBE KC, said: I am pleased to be a launch supporter of the Children's Prosperity Plan and their mission, which I think is ambitious yet imperative: to lift 1 million children in our country out of relative poverty by 2030. 

“This goal is not just a number; it represents a million lives changed, a million futures brightened, and a million dreams revived. Achieving this requires more than just policy changes; it demands a united effort from every corner of society. From government bodies to private sector champions, from local communities to international partners, we must all come together in a grand coalition for our children. Mobilising this collective strength, we will ensure that the future of every child is defined not by the circumstances of their birth but by the boundlessness of their potential.”

Alison Garnham, CEO of Child Poverty Action Group UK, added: Child poverty has been allowed to rise to a record high with over four million kids currently cut off from opportunities to thrive. 

“Children need politicians to show leadership and to act. The urgent priorities are abolition of the hideous two-child limit, an expansion of free school meals and an increase to child benefit. To do less is to fail Britain’s children.”

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