Work and Pensions Committee Press Notice

23 July 2007

The best start in life? Alleviating deprivation, improving social mobility and eradicating child poverty

The Work and Pensions Committee today announced its new inquiry.

The inquiry will assess progress against the Government's PSA Target to halve the number of children in relative low-income households between 1998-99 and 2010-11, on the way to eradicating child poverty by 2020; and to what extent the proposals in the Government Report Working for Children, in response to the Harker review, are the right way forward.

Particular areas of interest are likely to include:

1. Whether the Government is doing enough to support:

  • lone parents;

  • unemployed partners;

  • parents of disabled children; and

  • disabled parents.

To find quality, sustainable employment, taking account of the Government's response to the Freud and Leitch reviews. Evaluating how effective Government initiatives are in:

  • breaking cycles of intergenerational worklessness; and

  • assisting out of poverty families in these groups who cannot work.

2. The effectiveness of cross-government co-ordination to address child poverty, and its treatment in the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007

3. How to alleviate symptoms of deprivation other than income:

  • The impact of poverty on the emotional well-being and social mobility of children

  • Assessing DWP's contribution to progress against PSA targets currently held jointly with the Department for Children, Schools and Families: to increase the stock of Ofsted-registered childcare by ten per cent; and increase the number of children in lower-income working families using formal childcare by 120,000 from a 2005 baseline of 614,000.

  • The success of the DWP's Local Housing Allowance policy, and its contribution to alleviating deprivation and eradicating child poverty.

The Committee seeks written contributions on this issue from interested organisations and individuals. The deadline for written evidence is Wednesday 26 September 2007. Oral evidence sessions will take place in the Autumn.

Please note:

Each submission should:

  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

  • have numbered paragraphs;

  • be in Word format with as little use of colour/logos as possible; and

  • be emailed to the Committee, where possible, including full details and postal address.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

A copy of the submission should be emailed to and marked "Best Start Inquiry". Full postal address and contact details should be included.

Paper copies should be sent to: Emily Gregory, Work and Pensions Select Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised.