Poverty is set to blight the lives of tens of thousands of children despite a Government pledge to eradicate it by 2020, an inquiry has warned.
The finding follows the publication of figures showing four out of 10 children in a Birmingham constituency are living in homes which depend on benefits.
Government figures show 41 per cent of youngsters in Ladywood are growing up in families where at least one adult claims benefits designed for people who are not in work.
And more than 30 per cent of children in Erdington, Hodge Hill, Sparkbrook and Northfield are living in households which claim benefits for people who do not work.
But an inquiry by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee warned the Government was set to miss its target of halving the number of children living in poverty by 2010.
The committee said it was still possible to turn the situation around, but only if Ministers were prepared to make more resources available.
Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, committed the Government to halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020. He made the promise in 1999, when the number of children living in poverty stood at 3.4 million.
Since then the number has fallen by 600,000 to 2.8 million - still well short of the goal of 1.7 million.
On current trends, the committee said the Government will miss the target by about one million, or 1.5 million if housing costs are taken into account.
The MPs said: "We believe the 2010 target could be met, but only if further investment is forthcoming."
The committee warned some groups of children had a much higher risk of growing up in poverty, such as those who were disabled or had a disabled parent.
It said it was "particularly concerned" that one in five families with a disabled child were so hard up they had to cut back on food.
Poverty rates among Pakistani and Bangladeshi children were twice those among white children, while black children also experienced higher rates of poverty than whites. The rates were also particularly high in London.
The committee endorsed the Government's strategy of lifting families out of poverty by helping parents find "sustainable" work. It also urged the Government to do more to change public attitudes towards poverty at a time when sympathy for the poor was low.
It said: "Many assume that poverty is only a problem in developing countries and the UK's economic success means that if someone is poor it must be due to their own poor choices or personal failings.
"The Government needs to take a lead on challenging these misconceptions."
Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said the Government had made significant progress but acknowledged that more needed to be done.
"We are putting sustainable employment at the heart of our welfare reforms," he said. "We have done a lot, but there is still more to do."
A spokesman for the charity One Parent Families/Gingerbread said: "This report confirms that child poverty remains a reality in the UK, that it damages children, and that if the Government is to meet its ambitious target, further action is needed."