Politics 18 November 2013 How Duncan Smith misled MPs on child poverty The Work and Pensions Secretary claimed that "child poverty rose" under Labour; it fell by 800,000. Print HTML Iain Duncan Smith has acquired a reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts and he was up to his tricks again at Work and Pensions Questions in the Commons this afternoon. Towards the end of the session, he declared that "child poverty rose" under the last government. But as so often, the data tells a different story. Under Labour, child poverty fell from 3.4m in 1997 to 2.6m in 2010, a net reduction of 800,000 and the lowest figure since the mid-1980s. While child poverty has fallen under the coalition to 2.3m (largely due to the overall drop in average household incomes, which resulted in a relatively higher poverty threshold), it is projected to rise by 600,000 by 2015-16 as the government's welfare cuts take full effect. As the IFS has noted, "Despite the impact of universal credit, the overall impact of reforms introduced since April 2010 is to increase the level of income poverty in each and every year from 2010 to 2020." The forecast rise will reverse all of the reductions that took place under Labour between 2000-01 and 2010-11. Rather than slandering the last government, Duncan Smith would do well to turn his attention to that. › Cameron’s childcare crunch is hitting family finances and the economy Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith speaks at the Conservative conference in Manchester last month. Photograph: Getty Images. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from £1 a week Subscribe More Related articles The BBC's Question Time shows how narrow our establishment really is Michael Gove's quiet revolution could transform prisoner education Q&A: What happened at Barnet's polling stations this morning?