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Financial Hardship: Shock as Government figures reveal more children in poverty

Efforts to halve child poverty by 2010 were dealt a massive blow last week after a shock rise in child poverty was revealed.

Government figures showed that 100,000 more children were living in poverty during 2005/06 than in 2004/05. And, after housing costs are taken into consideration, there were 200,000 more. In total 2.8m children were in poverty in 2005/06 before housing costs rising to 3.8m children after housing costs were considered.

Martin Narey, the chief executive of Barnardo's, called the rise a disgrace.

"In 1999, we were all excited by the Government's determination to eradicate child poverty and halve it by 2010," said Narey. "But it is now clear that they did not intend to halve it by 2010, but to reduce it a bit."

The Child Poverty Action Group called on the Government to put more money into tax credits and child benefit. "The Government can still meet the 2010 target, but it will need an extra £4bn annual investment," said Kate Green, chief executive of the action group.

To coincide with the figures, the Department for Work and Pensions published a new child poverty strategy, Working for Children. It sets out additional measures to cut child poverty, including extra help to get parents in London back to work.

But David Laws MP, the Liberal Democrats' work and pensions spokesman, said the Government's whole approach was broken. "It is clear Gordon Brown's concoction of complex tax credits and benefits is failing to help Britons living in poverty."

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