British tax, welfare cuts will cause surge in poverty: study

17th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The British government's changes to taxes and benefits will drag hundreds of thousands of people into poverty over the next three years, according to a study published Friday.

The findings of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies contrast with finance minister George Osborne's insistence that his spending review will not affect child poverty in the short-term.

The think-tank predicts that absolute and relative poverty will rise among children and working-age people over the next three years, while average incomes will stagnate.

From among those sections of the population, "we forecast a rise in relative poverty of about 800,000 and a rise in absolute poverty of about 900,000 between 2010-11 and 2013-14," report author Robert Joyce said.

Campaign groups described the projected rise in child poverty as "totally unacceptable" and "disastrous".

Sally Copley, of the Save the Children Fund, said: "George Osborne promised in his spending review that child poverty would not get worse over the next two years. These new figures show the government will meet this commitment.

"But standing still on child poverty is never good enough and the prospect of it actually rising after 2012 is totally unacceptable."

Barnardo's chief executive Martin Narey said: "It would be disastrous if child poverty figures are allowed to rise."

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, which came to power in May, has introduced a wide-ranging of deep cuts in public spending to reduce a huge deficit.

One of the new measures, a threefold rise in university fees, has sparked sometimes violent protests in central London.

© 2010 AFP

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