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Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Child poverty targets 'will not be met'


The government's independent reviewer on social mobility and child poverty has said that "progress has started to reverse" and targets "will simply not be met"

Interviewed in advance of his first speech on the subject, former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn told Today presenter John Humphrys that support in the UK was "skewed to family benefits" when the aim should be to "dramatically improve services".

And he added: "Unless we are clear and honest about what is happening, it is very difficult to make progress. We know that we're in tough times, the economy's stalling, public expenditure is falling and inequality is probably widening.

"What would be completely wrong in these circumstances - at least in my view - is if the poorest ended up paying the heaviest price. And I think the top priority for government now is to accept that that is what is happening, to come clean about the fact that the target that it has adopted will not be met, and then to take the action that is necessary to ensure that indeed the poorest do not end up paying the heaviest price."

Eradicating child poverty was one of the major aims of the Labour government, and the target was also adopted by the current government, which appointed Mr Milburn to review the progress being made.

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