The Government's plans to end child poverty are doomed to failure, its adviser on social mobility has warned as new estimates revealed the UK will be home to 3.5 million poor children by 2020.

A report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, chaired by former health secretary Alan Milburn, branded the draft strategy for the next three years a "missed opportunity" and insisted that it fell far short of what is needed to prevent the numbers rising.

Mr Milburn said it was a "farce" and "particularly lamentable" that ministers had been unable to agree on how to measure poverty after rubbishing existing measures.

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"The Government's approach falls far short of what is needed to reduce, yet alone end child poverty in our country," added the ex-Labour MP.

He went on: "Our new research shows that the gap between the objective of making child poverty history and the reality is becoming ever wider."