DELUDED Tory Iain Duncan Smith claimed yesterday that his campaign of welfare cuts and voluntary work schemes would end child poverty in six years.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said more private-sector jobs and his work programme would help families escape poverty caused by his government policies.
The self-styled poverty guru — who established the right-wing Centre for Social Justice think tank — prescribed more of his cuts medicine in the government’s latest child poverty strategy.
“Despite tough economic times over the last few years, we’ve introduced reforms to the welfare system that are transforming the lives of the most vulnerable in our society,” he reassured himself.
But charities and trade unions warned the Tory that his ideological aspirations were “meaningless” and “did not add up to being a plan to end child poverty.”
Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said it was “almost impossible” for the government to meet its own child poverty targets by 2020.
The Child Poverty Action Group pointed to independent predictions that revealed 900,000 more children were expected to be living in absolute poverty by 2020.
The charity said half of respondents to the government’s child poverty consultation raised concerns over welfare cuts — but were ignored by Mr Duncan Smith.
Frustrated chief executive Alison Garnham said: “Rather than take these views on board, the government looks set to continue with policies that experts show are impoverishing families across the UK.”
Any government must “tackle low pay, promote affordable housing and childcare” to end child poverty that costs Britain £29 billion a year, she said.
Schools Minister David Laws also weighed in to the debate yesterday in a bid to ensure the Lib Dems claim credit for the pupil premium.
He promised extra cash would be given to early years education but ATL education union leader Dr Mary Bousted said poverty remains the “biggest cause of children failing to do well at school.
“The government can have as many consultations over targets for ending child poverty as it likes, but they are meaningless since it is failing to meet its own targets,” she said.