Children England has called on the Government to reconsider its plans to redefine child poverty after applauding a new EU recommendation.
The EU Commission Recommendation provides guidance to member states on how to tackle child poverty and promote well-being.
‘Investigating Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’ has emphasised that addressing child poverty is central to achieving Europe 2020 which is the EU’s growth strategy for the next decade aiming to make the EU a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.
Children England’s chief executive Maggie Jones said: “The Recommendation sends a clear message to member states about the importance of combating child poverty.”
The European Commission recommendation calls for an approach to children’s rights which is based on three key rights for children.
The first recommendation outlined was the right to be given adequate resources, which included the need to make it as easy as possible for families living in disadvantaged areas to have access to quality early education and care.
The second key right was that children can have access to inclusive, affordable care and supporting parents in their role as the main educators for their child’s early years. The importance of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services working closely with parents was also emphasised.
Finally the child’s right to participate in social activities without barriers of cost, access or culture in a safe children’s environment was described in the EU recommendation.
The recommendation has also been championed by Eurochild, who have a network of 155 organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to improve the quality of life of children and young people.
Jana Hainsworth, secretary general at Eurochild said: "The Recommendation sends a clear message to Member States: enough is enough! Eurochild members and other civil society actors will be using the EU’s policy guidance to apply pressure to national and regional governments. We must take advantage of EU processes such as Economic governance (European Semester) and budget talks (Multi-annual Financial Framework) to guarantee investment in children."
The recommendation comes at a crucial time for the UK when the Government has recently closed their own consultation into child poverty attracting criticism from Children England because of the proposal to introduce a single multidimensional measure of child poverty. Children England questioned the Government’s motives behind the consultation, describing it as a distraction from tackling real issues.
Ms Jones said: “Rather than wasting time trying to redefine child poverty, the Government should focus its energies on reversing or limiting the terrible impact that its austerity measures are having on some of this country’s poorest families.”
Children England has instead applauded the EU recommendation, created by László Andor, European commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
They have urged the government to review their plans to redefine child poverty, believing that the complexity of the issue will make it impossible for the single measure proposed by the Government to accurately reflect all aspects of child poverty.