PM’s use of child poverty statistics ‘selective, inaccurate and misleading’
The End Child Poverty coalition’s complaint about the misleading use of child poverty statistics on three separate occasions by the PM has been scrutinised by the Statistics Authority’s Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) and they have written to End Child Poverty stating they reach the same conclusion that the PM’s ‘statements are incorrect’.
However, End Child Poverty is concerned that not enough is being done to prevent the continued use of misleading statistics. In a response to the OSR, the coalition reiterates that it is not in the public interest, or that of families swept into poverty, for senior politicians at the highest levels of Government to repeatedly use inaccurate statistics.
For this reason we’ve decided to make correspondence relating to our complaint public from 00:01 on Thursday 30th July (see below for details).
End Child Poverty has written an open letter to the OSR questioning why they have not published a more in-depth response, or engaged with Government at a higher level, to avoid child poverty statistics being used ‘selectively, inaccurately and misleadingly’, despite the OSR stating in previous correspondence that these statistics are of ‘significant public interest’.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty, said:
‘It is deeply insulting to the children and families swept into poverty, when data about them is used selectively and misleadingly at the whim of politicians. The simple fact is that by any measures child poverty is rising, but instead of tackling the problem the government risks obscuring the issue and misinforming the public. The lives of real people are at stake and we need consistent use of information and urgent action.’
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:
“The hard truth is that child poverty is growing in the UK but the Government is in denial on this. That has to shift. If we are to make progress, the problem must be confronted, not circumvented. If the will and the focus is there, a strategy can be agreed and action taken to prevent more children from being damaged by poverty. It’s our moral responsibility to safeguard children from poverty and to invest in them. It’s also the most significant investment we as a nation can make for our future. “
Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action for Children, said:
“This isn’t about the Punch and Judy of PMQs. Admitting that rising numbers of ordinary families are struggling to keep their children clothed and well fed matters to good policy making.
“You can’t ‘level up’ the country if you’re sweeping under the carpet the big rises in child poverty clearly shown by the official figures. The longer we’re in denial about the scale of the problem, the harder it will be to fix it.
“We’ve had David Cameron’s ‘Life Chances’, Theresa May’s ‘Burning Injustices’ and the PM’s ‘levelling up’ agenda – but we’re still waiting for a child poverty strategy that will make life more bearable for desperate families and give their children a safe and happy childhood.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
For media enquiries and spokespeople contact the media team at the National Children’s Bureau / email@example.com / 07721 097 033.
About End Child Poverty
End Child Poverty is a coalition of organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty. For more details visit: www.endchildpoverty.org.uk
 For details about the PMs misleading statements see our original complaint below – these include statements to the BBC and in PMQs in Parliament.
 For details about the Office for Statistics Regulation’s response, see their letter below.
 For details of End Child Poverty’s response – see below.
Links to correspondence: