Church Action On Poverty Shocked by UK Child Poverty Statistics

Church Action on Poverty (CAP) has voiced its shock at the Government's latest poverty statistics, published Tuesday, which show that the number of children in poverty has increased by more than 100,000 between March 2005 and March 2006.

The charity has called on the church to take a lead in the campaign to end to poverty.

Niall Cooper, CAP National Coordinator said: "It is disturbing that in spite of the Government's commitment to end child poverty, the numbers of children in poverty in the UK have actually increased by more than 100,000. This is a tragedy for those children and families directly affected, and an indictment of society at large. In spite of our growing prosperity as a nation, we are failing many of the poorest and most vulnerable in society - including children in particular.

"As last month's UNESCO report showed, the UK has one of the worst records on child poverty of any developed nation. These latest figures are a wake up call not just to politicians who profess to want to end child poverty but to all of us. We can - and we must - be willing to share the nations' prosperity more equitably, and to invest in our children's' future. Gordon Brown's latest budget, far from offering tax cuts, should have given greater priority to tackling child poverty.

"The Christian churches must take a leaf out of the Make Poverty History campaign, and take a lead in campaigning to end the scandal of poverty within our own shores."

The Government's latest figures show that the incomes of the poorest 20 per cent of the population as a whole actually fell in cash terms during 2005/06 to an average of £181 a week, while incomes for every other group within the population actually increased.