A survey of attitudes to child poverty by the Child Poverty Unit, published by the Department for Work and Pensions, suggests that a significant step-change is required if the majority of the public is to be aware of the Government’s goals.
Respondents were asked about the extent of child poverty and 41 per cent thought there was very little real child poverty in Britain today, 53 per cent thought there was quite a lot. Women were slightly more likely than men to think that there was quite a lot of child poverty.
Most respondents thought that child poverty has increased or stayed the same over the last decade, and most thought it would increase or stay the same over the next ten years. The reality is that between 1998/99 and 2005/06 the number of children in relative poverty fell by 600,000 .
Respondents were asked ‘why do you think there are families with children who live in need? Responses were fairly evenly divided across three of the options provided, with a minority selecting a fourth option. 31 per cent thought ‘it’s an inevitable part of modern life’, 27 per cent thought it was ‘because of laziness or lack of willpower’, 25 per cent thought it was ‘because of injustice in our society’ and 10 per cent thought it was ‘because they have been unlucky’.
The survey is available from the DWP. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/summ2007-2008/PublicAttitudestoChildPoverty.pdf