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Scrap flawed child poverty targets, says leading think-tank

Crude and flawed yardsticks for measuring child poverty should be scrapped and replaced with a range of new indicators reflecting the true causes of deprivation, according to a leading think-tank.

The Centre for Social Justice condemns the existing official formula as arbitrary and faulty and says that it conveys almost nothing about the suffocating nature of genuine hardship.

Christian Guy, Managing Director of the CSJ, said: "Labour's misguided child poverty targets have wasted over £150 billion pounds of taxpayers' money. By not reforming this misfiring system, the Coalition risks doing nothing to tackle child poverty.

"It must start showing that it is serious about reducing real deprivation.  Poverty is about more than money - it is about the family breakdown, addiction, debt-traps, and failing schools that blight the lives of our children."

The current formula, based mainly on income inequality targets, has led to narrow and expensive policy responses, costing taxpayers at least £150 billion from 2004 to 2010.

In a new report, the CSJ calls for a complete overhaul of the system, in which the accent would be on measuring the underlying causes of blighted young lives, such as family breakdown, welfare dependency and educational failure, rather than the symptoms of low relative income.

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