Child poverty is simply unacceptable and is damaging children's lives. Much more is needed to meet the government's commitment to end child poverty by 2020. By taking the actions we are calling for, the government would make a significant start towards achieving this goal and improving the lives of millions of children.
Admittedly, that is a slightly sensationalist statement, but let's look at the facts. Forget highly-charged diatribes about United Irelands or United Kingdoms. Forget histrionic republicanism, flag-waving unionism and arguments about terrorists and freedom fighters. Take bigotry, ideology, and romanticism out of it.
Twenty five years ago the world made a promise to children - a promise enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We promised every child the right to survive and be healthy, the right to an education and the right never to be subjected to violence. Through the use of data, we can tell where and how far those promises are, and are not, being kept and identify what more needs to be done to fulfil them.
On the busiest Christmas shopping day of the year staff at Action for Children are working to support the poorest families across the UK stay warm and fed. This is a sad reflection of the worsening effects of the tough economic times we are in; in previous years we handed out presents during the festive season.
In a time of economic austerity it is hardly surprising that public opinion has turned to those receiving benefits from the state, particularly those who do not work. Repeated stereotyping and manipulation of statistics in the media have painted many of Britain's poorest citizens as lazy good-for-nothings living a life of luxury at our expense.
The government must make in-work poverty more central to its efforts to tackle child poverty. This is one of the most striking and important conclusions in the wide ranging report published today by the Government's Social Mobility and Child Poverty (SMCP) Commission. The report assesses government progress on tackling child poverty and social mobility, and identifies areas where activity needs to be stepped up.
We have waited a long time for it, so it's good to see the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission publish its first progress report today. Mandated to assess how the government is doing in reducing child poverty and increasing social mobility, the report aims to provide a 'state of the nation' account of how the UK fairs.