By Tess Ridge
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Additional resources for Childhood poverty and social exclusion : from a child's perspective
Latest data from the Households Below Average Income Statistics (HBAI) shows that ‘only’ children are the least likely to be in the bottom quintile of the income distribution, whereas 4 in 10 children in families with three or more children were in the bottom quintile, and almost 7 in 10 were in the bottom two quintiles (DWP, 2001). Large family size is also a factor for some ethnic minority groups, especially for Pakistani and Bangladeshi families. The Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities (Modood et al, 1997) found that 33% of Pakistani families and 42% of Bangladeshi families had four or more children.
These are not discrete categories of risk but rather economic, social and cultural factors, which intersect and interact with the economic, social and political environment of their time. In this context, we explored the Labour government’s response to child poverty and their commitment to end child poverty within 20 years. Their policy agenda involves a radical overhaul of the welfare system, and in particular of systems of support for children. These are important initiatives and entail a comprehensive ‘joined-up’ approach to tackling child poverty.
Their policy agenda involves a radical overhaul of the welfare system, and in particular of systems of support for children. These are important initiatives and entail a comprehensive ‘joined-up’ approach to tackling child poverty. However, the fundamental creed underpinning the government’s strategy to reduce child poverty is the belief in the labour market as the primary agent of social inclusion. 33 Childhood poverty and social exclusion Consequently, the main thrust of government policy is directed towards welfareto-work and the privileging of paid work.