Monday, March 29, 1999 Published at 11:10 GMT
Tackle causes of poverty - Brown
Some children may be learning to be poor
Far too many children are still being born into poverty in the United Kingdom, Chancellor Gordon Brown has confirmed.
The survey concludes 12 million people in the UK are living in poverty. A substantial widening of the gap between rich and poor has occurred since 1977.
The study defines those in poverty as people earning less than half average income. As such, a couple with children making less than £150 a week before housing costs (or £129 after) would be termed poor.
But Mr Brown insisted his changes in the March Budget would help the poorest in society.
"It is not something for nothing we're offering. We're saying, in return for you accepting responsibilities to work or to bring up your children, we will help you.
"We're not going to spend money simply compensating people, as we did in the past, for their poverty. We're genuinely going to tackle the causes of poverty."
Children 'learn to be poor'
The Treasury study comes on the same day as a survey by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests some children from low income families may be "learning to be poor".
Based on interviews with 400 children, it suggested those living in households claiming income support were five times more likely to think their family income was inadequate than other children.
Youngsters from single-parent families and families on income support were more likely to discuss money with their parents and siblings.
They were less likely to ask for expensive presents or to receive regular pocket money and had lower career expectations than other children. They were also more likely to choose unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.
The study's author, Sue Middleton, said: "Children from low income families are learning to expect and accept less from an early age and to find ways of covering up the disappointment.
"It seems entirely possible that for some children it is early learning of this sort that reduces both their immediate expectations and their future aspirations.
"There is a real sense in which they are learning to be poor."
Pledge to end child poverty
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to wipe out child poverty within 20 years.
Mr Brown is using the publication of the Treasury report, Tackling Poverty and Extending Opportunity, to drive home his message that welfare reform and improved childcare provision is the best way to eradicate poverty.
He stressed his intention was to make work pay for those on low incomes.
"The proper way to build a cohesive society is to help families with children, to help all who work and encourage people to work and, most important of all for the future, to get people the skills to work so that they can earn well and they can have a career.
"We have a very big challenge to meet the prime minister's challenge of abolishing child poverty over the next 25 years.
"But we are determined to take all the steps on that road."
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