Child Poverty

It breaks my heart to see the Government cutting back on essential support and services that the needy and vulnerable families depend on to survive and thrive, using the cost of Covid to justify that. And children suffer, not just in the short term, but their life chances are unfairly and negatively affected.

In 2019 I stood on a promise to provide free school meals for all primary school children to ensure no child goes hungry at school; to halt the closures of Sure Start centres and increase the amount of money available; to expand universal childcare. I also pledged to end the benefit freeze and replace social mobility with social justice.

The Government, in introducing benefit caps and the two-child limit for child benefit due to Covid, has acted in a cruel and callous way, affecting more than 600,000 families and 2 million children. This has just made things even worse and pushed more children into poverty – child benefits must be restored for all children and indeed enhanced.

Last year the New Economics Foundation called for a minimum income guarantee – via an increase to Universal Credit and legacy benefits – of £221 per person per week. The TUC also called for the basic level of Universal Credit to be raised to £260 per week. Both of these I support.

A child growing up in a shipping container or a B&B, or going to school hungry, cannot be expected to reach their full potential. The measure of our society is how we treat our most vulnerable. And who could be more vulnerable than a child living in poverty or even homeless?