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Labour bid to reduce poverty

EDUCATION AND child poverty feature prominently in a new set of government targets aimed at reducing poverty.

Claiming the initiative is the most radical in 50 years, Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling said its success will be measured in six key areas: education, health, employment, housing, incomes and vulnerable social groups.

The Government aims to raise the proportion of 19-year-olds with the equivalent of two A-levels, reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and cut the proportion of children in workless households and poor housing. The campaign also looks to reduce truancy and exclusion and improve standards in the 3Rs.

Mr Darling said: "For the first time, a Government is standing up to be counted, setting specific standards against which we will be judged."

The Government has already promised to wipe out child poverty within 20 years.

One in four people in the UK is classified as poor, defined as those with a household income which is less than half the national average earnings (currently pound;19,500).

These include 63 per cent of

single-parent families and more than a third of all children.

London is said to be the richest area, followed by the South, Scotland, the Midlands, the North and finally Wales.

The poorest 10 per cent of families have seen the relative value of their incomes fall by 9 per cent since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

Average income has increased by 44 per cent and the richest 10 per cent have seen a 70 per cent increase.

Analysis, 24

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