What the OECD really said about child poverty in the UK


Yes, you've seen the reports. The Coalition is undoing all that excellent work done by Labour in reducing child poverty. Must be true, the OECD said so.

Well, yes, and no, for that's not really quite what the OECD said. What they did actually say includes:

In 2007 the UK spent more on children than most OECD countries, at just over 138 000 pounds sterling per child from birth up to the age of 18, compared to an OECD average of just under 95 000 pounds.

That is, that we spend more than most other places, certainly more than average, but don't seem to get all that much for it. So it isn't in fact how much is being spent, it's what it's being spent on which is the problem. They go on to praise the Coalition in fact:

 To this end, the plan outlined in the UK Child Poverty Strategy to extend the 15 hours of free early education services to disadvantaged children as young as 2 is a positive step for well-being of these children and the job prospects of their parents.

And yet they go on to point out that there's still a rather large problem:

 Nonetheless childcare costs can remain a barrier to work for parents higher up the income scale, and there is room in UK policy for an effective childcare supplement for working parents.

Now, how could that problem have arisen? Oh yes, that would be the imposition of layers of regulation upon child carers, wouldn't it?

So, what the OECD really said is that we spend lots and lots on children but don't get much, certainly not as much as we should, for what we spend. Further, that Iain Duncan Smith is doing some good things. And finally, the implication that we really ought to sort out child care. The simplest method of doing so would seem to be abolishing the regulatory straightjacket put around it by the previous government.