Cathy Newman checks it out:
Helping the poorest in society was in Labour’s DNA. But according to Nick Clegg, after thirteen years of a Labour government, child poverty has gone up not down. Shocking, if true. So is it?
When Labour came to power in 1997, just over a quarter of the UK’s children – 3.4m – were living in poverty. The official measure of poverty is any household getting by on less than 60 per cent of the median income. The median is the middle point.
In Labour’s first two terms, that figure went down to 2.7m, but then rose to 2.9m in 2007/08, before edging down to 2.8m in 2008/09 – the latest year for which data is available.
So contrary to Nick Clegg’s claim today, child poverty under Labour did go down not up, though not by much.
And it should be pointed out that Labour was forced to admit defeat on its pledge to halve child poverty by 2010. If current trends persisted, it was even on course to miss its 2020 target of ending child poverty altogether.
Cathy Newman’s verdict:
Some of Nick Clegg’s colleagues here in Liverpool think he’s a closet Tory. Certainly he sometimes walks and talks like one. His rhetoric on Labour’s child poverty record might have been drafted by Conservative HQ. But he and his new comrades need to check their facts. It is true Labour failed to meet its 2010 pledge, but around 600,000 children were lifted out of poverty under the last government.
Read more: Nick Clegg’s social mobility claim