Yesterday's announcement that the Government has missed its target of taking one million children out of poverty has come as no surprise to church campaigners. They predicted last year that the government would fail to meet its targets on child poverty, and that greater political will was required to close the gap between rich and poor. Church Action on Poverty has warned that achieving the goal of ending child poverty in a generation would "require much greater political will and injection of resources to narrow the gap between the poorest and the rest of society." Niall Cooper, CAP said: "Whilst progress has clearly been made, it is a matter of great regret that the government has missed its target. Six years on from the Prime Minister's historic pledge to end child poverty, almost three and a half million children remain trapped in poverty". "The challenge of getting from a cut in child poverty of a quarter to a half is a much bigger hurdle. However, with Conservative leader David Cameron and the new leader of the Liberal Democrats Menzies Campbell both now focusing on issues of poverty, the opportunities are there for the government to be much bolder. "The challenge for the Churches is now to campaign with the same vigour to end poverty close to home as we have shown for the Make Poverty History campaign." Tony Blair pledged in 1999 to eradicate child poverty by 2020 - and to have cut it from 4.1m to 3.1m by April 2005. Department for Work and Pension published today figures show the number of children in poverty has fallen by 700,000 since 1999, missing the target by 300,000. Source: CAP
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