Feeds

Imagine! Government to legislate against badness

Poverty soon to be a crime

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

It's official: the government is today publishing a bill that will make child poverty illegal.

A surprise announcement from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) explains that the new child poverty bill will enshrine in law a duty to eradicate child poverty by 2020, "so that all children have the best start in life and have the opportunities to flourish".

The bill will contain a requirement for government to reduce poverty so families on low income do not get left behind. It will place a duty on local authorities, and partner organisations like the NHS and police, to work together to lift children out of poverty.

Finally, government will also be required to report to Parliament each year on progress, and to create a Child Poverty Commission to publish advice and encourage progress.

The announcement is accompanied by a raft of positive and optimistic comment from Ministers across government, including Work and Pensions Secretary, Yvette Cooper, Children’s Secretary, Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne. The rhetoric focuses largely on the issue of what sort of society we wish to live in, and ensuring that every child is given a fair chance.

However, the government record on this front is patchy. Despite ambitious commitments to halving child poverty by 2010, the figures appear to have stalled, and a recent report suggested that there has been no improvement on the child poverty front since 2006.

Since a report to Parliament (pdf) in 2004 showeed the UK as having one of the highest rates of child poverty in Western Europe, there is still a long way to go.

Cynics might wonder whether a bill to eradicate poverty is nothing more than a political stunt in the run-up to the General Election. It uses the legal process to highlight a commitment that an incoming Tory government would find very difficult to get out of: however, although it is positioned as law, there are unlikely to be many real consequences for breaking it.

El Reg asked the DCSF what penalties, if any, would be applied should the government fail to adhere to its law on this subject: would the government have to send itself to prison?

A spokesman for DCSF said: "The Bill will include a duty to meet the targets by 2020 and maintain the target levels thereafter. If the targets are not met by 2020, or in subsequent years, the Bill contains a regulation making power exercisable by the Secretary of State to set out the steps he will take to meet them."

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open for similar Bills appearing over the next few months.

Readers should lookout for laws that guarantee world peace and an end to all disease. We would not be entirely surprised if, by this time next year, it has been made a crime to be unhappy. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.