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The UK government has been forced into another U-turn by agreeing to retain a legally binding commitment to measure and publish the number of children living in low-income families, following pressure from the SNP.

The key clause forms part of the Tory Welfare Reform and Work Bill which is currently in “ping-pong” between the House of Lords and House of Commons over amendments to the bill before it becomes legislation.

Amendments to the bill will be considered by the House of Lords today (Monday) including a new clause from the UK government put forward by Lord Freud, Welfare Reform Minister, which would override the government’s previous attempt to remove child poverty reporting commitments.

Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said,

“In yet another deeply embarrassing climb-down for the Tories, the House of Lords have listened to SNP concerns and forced the UK government to think again about this part of the counterintuitive measures in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

The Tories’ attempt to remove the link between poverty and income is as ill-thought out as it was a cruel attempt to characterise poverty as an individual lifestyle choice. Whilst this backtracking is to be welcomed, it’s clear that just measuring and reporting on child poverty isn’t enough.

What is needed is for the Tories to recognise that it is their welfare cuts and austerity agenda that is driving more children into poverty and it is this that needs the real climb down.

For the moment at least though, thanks to SNP opposition, we will be able to hold ministers to account on the numbers of children in poverty rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet.”

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