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'GORDON'S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO PUT POVERTY IN THE PAST'

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As the new upratings of social security benefits come into force, a leading children's charity has today spoken of ...
As the new upratings of social security benefits come into force, a leading children's charity has today spoken of the 'golden opportunity' chancellor Gordon Brown has to make child poverty a thing of the past at next week's budget.

The Child Poverty Action Group has welcomed today's uprating of benefits which include increases in maternity allowance, sure start grants and bereavement benefits. The national charity's director Martin Barnes sees them as part of a fundamental program to end child poverty.

'We welcome such measures as extra support for disabled children who will get an increase off£5 over the rate of inflation. But today's increases must be part of a wider package of increased financial support of low income families,' said Mr Barnes.

'The chancellor has a golden opportunity at next weeks Budget to make sure fundamental steps are made to end child poverty for good.'

The 2002 budget (Wednesday 17th April) is expected to announce the levels of support for the new Child Tax Credit which will come into effect in 2003. The new legislation will introduce the child tax credit for families with children and a working tax credit for working people with low incomes.

'The new child tax credit is radical, ambitious and far reaching. The announcement of financial support for low income families at the budget next week will be a watershed.

'It is cash that counts,' he continued. 'And while we welcome today's increases for poorer families, it is the budget and the level of the Child Tax Credit that will give the chancellor a golden opportunity to make a giant leap in the war against child poverty.'

The Child Poverty Action Group has welcomed the increases announced today including increased children's tax credit for children under 1's and increases to maternity allowance and maternity pay.

New rates also include a 25p increase in child benefit, a 55p increase in Housing Benefit allowance for children and 70p increase for income support.

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