Controversial proposals to rewrite the official definition of poverty have been put on hold, Iain Duncan Smith signalled, as he prepared to unveil a three-year strategy to reduce the rate of child sufferers.
The Work and Pensions Secretary and Liberal Democrat education minister David Laws are expected to restate the Government's commitment to end child poverty by 2020, despite recent rises and independent forecasts that the number of children in relative poverty could swell to more than three million by the end of the decade.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the new child poverty strategy could feature r adical plans to cut water, food and fuel bills for low-income families as well as measures to address the "worklessness" afflicting the poorest households.
Divisions between the governing coalition parties appeared however to have forced the Tory cabinet minister to leave out long-floated proposals to amend the measure to take into account not only income levels, but issues like household stability, educational opportunities and parents' addiction to drugs.
In a joint Guardian article with Chancellor George Osborne, he said the Conservatives remained " committed to introducing better measures of child poverty - measures that drive the right action to bring about a real change in children's lives now and in the future".
Under Labour, "the wrong measures based on inadequate data and simplistic analysis drive misguided and ineffective policy", the pair continued.
But in an acknowledgement they were unable to press ahead with the move at this stage, the article concluded: " This is such an important issue - it is vitally important that we take the time to get it right.
"The right analysis, the right data, and the right measures will allow us to deliver a really meaningful reduction in child poverty."
Reports at the weekend suggested that the new strategy could include £50 cuts in typical energy bills and an extension of the £135 warm home discount, which is currently available only to older people, as well as a cap on water meter charges for low-income families, wider eligibility for free school meals and free school transport and more affordable homes.
William Higham, Save the Children's director of UK poverty policy, said: "With child poverty predicted to rise by a million by 2020, more children will be growing up without the basics we expect, like a warm home and a winter coat.
"The proposed government action on energy prices and insurance will make a difference - but we can't just bail out families, we need to fix the leak.
"Work needs to become a route out of poverty and we must intervene early to help the poorest families and make sure their children don't fall behind at school."
The Children's Society called for free school meals and automatic entitlement to the warm home discount for all families with children living in poverty, and said that Government support for childcare should be increased from 70% to 85% of the cost for parents on universal credit.
Helen Barnard, policy and research manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "With one in four families expected to be in poverty by 2020, a renewed strategy to address child poverty is vital.
"Child poverty costs the country an enormous amount - £29 billion a year.
"For economic as well as social reasons, we welcome a renewed focus on how to address it.
"With 13 million people living in poverty, and more in-work poverty than ever before, these are not families with chaotic lives or who suffer from addictions: their main challenge is that they do not have sufficient resources to meet their needs."
Labour pointed to forecasts from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies suggesting that child poverty will rise by 400,000 during this Parliament and by 900,000 by the end of the decade, increasing from 2.3 million in 2011/12 to 3.2 million in 2020/21 and nearly reversing a fall of one million under the previous administration.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said: "Child poverty is set to rise by 400,000 under David Cameron's Government, and for the first time since records began, there are more people in poverty who are working than who are out of work.
"Any attempt by the Government to change the way poverty is measured won't do anything to help the children whose lives are being damaged by the rise in poverty we are seeing under this Government."
The announcement of the new child poverty strategy in a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons will be followed by a period of consultation with interested parties.
"Today, with the launch of a new Child Poverty Strategy, we restate our commitment to tackling poverty at its source - be it worklessness, family breakdown, educational failure, addiction, or debt," Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Osborne wrote ahead of the launch.
"These are the problems that blight the lives of vulnerable families and the strategy draws together the action we are taking on all these fronts."