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'BLAIR WILL NOT MEET CHILD POVERTY TARGET UNLESS POOR HOUSING IS TACKLED'

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End Child Poverty and Shelter today join forces to show that the government will not meet its target to end child p...
End Child Poverty and Shelter today join forces to show that the government will not meet its target to end child poverty unless the plight of hundreds of thousands of children living in bad housing is tackled. They want to see John Prescott's forthcoming Community Plan(1) make a difference for children, and argue that the

money set aside for housing in the recent Spending Review must go to

those most in need. This means helping the poorest families starting

with the 81,250 homeless households in emergency homes - an 86 per cent

rise since 1997.

In a new report Child Poverty, Housing and Homelessness, launched today,

End Child Poverty and Shelter reveal how children's lives - their

health, education and well being - are being ruined by damp, overcrowded

and inadequate homes. The organisations say that last year over 100,000

children experienced homelessness. Homeless children are often victims

of bullying, alienated by classmates and their education harmed because

of missed lessons and disrupted lives. Government figures show that

there are 750,000(2) families with children living in poor housing and

these children are more likely to suffer from tuberculosis, asthma,

allergies and depression.

The report recommends a package of measures to tackle the problem of

children in bad housing and poverty. These include:

o Funding must be provided by central government targeted at supporting

homeless children

o 90,000(3) good quality affordable homes must be built each year for

the people who desperately need them

Graeme Brown, development director at End Child Poverty, said: '3.9

million(4) children are experiencing the misery of poverty. If the

government is serious about ending child poverty, they must tackle

housing and give children the chance they deserve to grow up in a decent

home.'

Ben Jackson, Shelter's director of external affairs, said: 'The children

who are sick because of the damp and mould in their home, or are bullied

at school because they live in bed and breakfasts - must come first when

the government talk about housing and poverty. The government must act

now and make sure every child has a decent home and proper chance in

life - no child must be denied opportunity as a result of bad housing.'

NOTES

(1) John Prescott talked about a 'step change' in housing policy in a

house of commons statement when he announced a new community plan due to

be launched in January 2003

(2) English House Conditions Survey 1996

(3) Research for Shelter by Cambridge University first published in No

Room to Play

(4) Households below average income 1994/95 - 2000/01, National

Statistics Services Apilt 2002

22,626 families with children came to Shelter for help with housing

problems

End Child Poverty (ECP) was formed last year by 12 major

children's charities with the aim of keeping this and every future

government to the pledge to end child poverty by 2020. ECP believe that

this means addressing income poverty, but also tackling health

inequalities, poor education outcomes, lack of employment, affordable

housing and support for families. The coalition has signed up supporting

organisations from the public, private, and voluntary sector and faith

groups

FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN WHO CAME TO SHELTER WITH HOUSING PROBLEMS

APRIL 2001 TO MARCH 2002

REGION No. families helped 2001-02

North East 618

Yorkshire & Humberside 1,944

North West & Merseyside 1,216

East Midlands 2,430

West Midlands 1,337

East 2,570

London 2,901

South East 5,746

South West 3,856

England* 22,626

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