Kitty Stewart and Nick Roberts
Published 14 July 2016
This paper examines responses to a 2012-13 government consultation on child poverty measurement. It explores what these responses tell us about attitudes towards the child poverty indicators in the Child Poverty Act 2010, and about the extent of support for a broader approach to measurement. The study was motivated by the amendments to the Child Poverty Act put forward by the Conservative Government in 2015. Using a Freedom of Information request, we gained access to 251 of the 257 consultation responses, which came from individuals and organisations with a wide range of expertise, including academics, local authorities, frontline services and children’s charities. Our analysis finds strong support for the original suite of measures and near universal support for keeping income at the heart of poverty measurement; poverty is understood primarily to be a relative lack of material resources, with income widely believed to be the best proxy measure. While there is considerable support for capturing information around other dimensions, these are generally seen as causes or consequences of poverty, or as broader life chance measures, not as measures of child poverty itself. The paper also considers the government’s published summary of the consultation responses, and discusses differences between the government’s interpretation and our own.