Government white paper is a poor start for children
Helen Linklater, Sheffield
Plans to tackle the United Kingdom's “four killers”—cancer, ischaemic heart disease, accidents, and mental illness—emerged in New Labour's latest white paper, Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, published in July. Child health issues are absent from the list of major targets, however, suggesting waning momentum in the wake of Prime Minister Tony Blair's pledge last March to eliminate child poverty within 20 years.
Mr Blair was reacting to the release of stark Treasury figures on child poverty: 40% of British children are born into poor households, defined in the EU as those with a total income below half that of average households. Standing at 4 million children in 1995, this represents triple the number 20 years ago. The findings, from a 6 month research study into the causes and scale of poverty in the United Kingdom, have a clear long term impact: a hopeless 25% of children never escape poverty. Among