A new £7bn funding package to help poor families cope with cuts in state spending may not be enough to protect Britains most disadvantaged children, Church Action on Poverty has warned.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the fairness premium just days ahead of the Governments Comprehensive Spending Review, which is expected to outline tough measures to slash Britains budget deficit.
The package will provide 15 hours a week of free nursery education to two-year-olds from the poorest 20 per cent of families. Additional support will be given to older children in the form of a pupil premium and student premium to help them in education up to university level.
You cannot overestimate the transformational potential of this kind of investment, Clegg said in a speech in Chesterfield. Focus on these children, and families across the country reap the rewards.
Liam Purcell, of Church Action on Poverty, said the fairness premium would undoubtedly help some of the UKs poorest and most disadvantaged children.
However, we fear that it will not be enough to counter the damage likely to be done to people and communities by the coming cuts in public spending, he said.
The impact of those cuts will be ten times greater for people in poverty than for the wealthy people who caused this economic crisis in the first place.
He called upon the Government to adopt a fairness to ensure that the burden of the cuts does not fall on those least able to bear it.
It will take more than this premium to create a really fair society, he said.
We hope all churches will join us in standing alongside the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.
It is expected that the Comprehensive Spending Review will detail cuts of as much as 25 per cent across many government departments by 2015.
Mr Clegg warned today that tough choices had had to be made about the Governments spending.
The Government announced a cull of nearly 200 quangos yesterday in another cost-cutting bid. The move is expected to result in the loss of around 10,000 jobs.
The bodies to be axed include the Health Protection Agency, UK Film Council and the Chief Coroners Office. Christian Today