Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:10 UK

Mayor sets up child poverty fund

London Mayor Boris Johnson
The Mayor's Fund aims to have an annual turnover of up to 20m

London's mayor has set up a multi-million pound charity to tackle child poverty in the capital.

Boris Johnson launched the Mayor's Fund to target companies and rich individuals for money to help support the 600,000 children living in poverty.

The fund was a key pledge during Mr Johnson's mayoral election campaign last year.

Labour members of the London Assembly branded the scheme a "Victorian solution to London's 21st problems".

The fund will spend £1.5m next year and aims to have an annual turnover of up to £20m by 2013.

Given the state of the world's finances, maybe Boris should have thought twice about relying on the ability and good will of bankers
Val Shawcross, Labour London Assembly

"Over 600,000 children live below the poverty line and London is home to some of the most deprived boroughs in the country," said Mr Johnson.

"Like Robin Hood we want to draw riches from wealth creators to give life-changing support to the poorest Londoners."

The charity aims to invest in projects with "proven results" in tackling child poverty.

The charity's chief executive Chris Robinson said: "We have worked hard to identify what is really needed and the evidence suggests it is to back proven delivery, and to coordinate and connect services rather than suggest there is some miracle cure."

Among them are three schemes in Shoreditch, east London, which will benefit from an £8m cash injection in 2010 before being expanded in 2013.

But Labour London Assembly member Val Shawcross said: "Boris has come up with a Victorian solution to London's twenty-first century problems.

"We know he has lots of faith in his friends in the City but, given the state of the world's finances, maybe he should have thought twice about relying on the ability and good will of bankers and hedge fund managers to cure London's social and economic problems."



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