§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much extra cash income would need to be received by low-income households in the latest year for which figures are available in order to ensure that all children are in households with at least half average income(a) as the half average is at present and (b) as half average income would be after the extra transfers. 
§ Angela Eagle
Our strategy for eradicating child poverty within 20 years involves tackling the main causes of poverty and social exclusion. This means helping parents find work, making work pay and ensuring that every child gets the best possible start in life as well as providing additional help for families through the tax and benefit system.
Using information drawn from the 1997–98 Households Below Average Income data set, based on the 1997–98 Family Resources Survey; it is estimated that, on average, around £46 per week per household of additional 56W income from earnings, benefit, or other source would have needed to have been received in 1997–98 to ensure that all children were in households with at least half average income before housing costs as it was before the transfers; and around £52 per week using the after housing costs measure.
The amount of additional income needed, as half average income would be after transfers depends on the proportion of the total additional income accounted for by transfers and how those transfers are funded.
1. Figures given in April 1999 prices are rounded to the nearest pound. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sets. The current series is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS) and is available for the years 1994–95 to 1997–98 and covers Great Britain but not Northern Ireland. The figures presented will be subject to sampling error. Figures for children are sensitive to the choice of equivalence scale.
2. Estimates assume that each household receives exactly enough extra to reach half average income.
3. The estimates assume no change in working patterns after the transfers have been made.
4. Estimates based on reported current income, which is assumed to stay constant throughout the year. Estimates include some negative incomes (after tax and housing costs). Estimates exclude the self-employed. Income data at the bottom of the income distribution and for self-employed people are known to be an imperfect indicator of living standards. Estimates of the median gap, which are less affected by very low incomes at the bottom of the income distribution than the mean, are £36 per week (after housing costs) and £32 per week (before housing costs).
§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the Government's policy of eliminating child poverty requires rates of social security benefits set above the official poverty line. 
§ Mr. Bayley
We published the document "Opportunity for all" on 21 September (Cm 4445) which sets out our strategy for tackling the causes of poverty and social exclusion. The report includes a range of indicators against which we can monitor our progress in tackling these causes and overcoming the problems faced by people living in poverty. Further details on all the indicators in the report have been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Our strategy for eradicating child poverty within 20 years involves tackling the main causes of poverty and social exclusion, providing additional help for families with children through the tax and benefit systems and ensuring that every child gets the best possible start in life.