New data from the NGO End Child Poverty shows that 45% of children are living in poverty in Edmonton and figures of child poverty are rapidly growing throughout the UK. Children NGOs are warning of the devastating impact of the freeze in benefits, in particular of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and I have today asked the government to assess the consequences of their policies.
The Tories list “worklessness” as the first cause for child poverty in their child poverty strategy. However, two thirds of children in poverty come from a household where at least one of the adults is working the proportion of children in poverty living in a working family rose from 54% in 2009–10 to 63% by 2013–14. Real wages are still lower than they were in 2010 and working families receive less and less support from the government.
Child poverty blights childhood. I hear stories every day from constituents unable to pay for food- or even milk- for their children, unable to offer a warm home or even a home to their families and who live with the constant fear of a minor event getting them on the streets. Those daily stories are heart-breaking.
But child poverty also takes its toll on adulthood. Poor children are four times as likely to become poor adults as other children. Hungry children or children scared about having a home to go to after school perform less well at school and have therefore less employment prospects later in life. And the consequences go much further, as poverty has a dire impact on health, including the return of rickets in some parts of the country. Men in deprived area in Britain have an almost 10 years life expectancy difference with men in richer areas.
While the Tories are cutting budgets on benefits and schools and outsourcing school meals to company such as Carillon who just got bankrupt, Labour wants to stop the freeze and introduce universal free school meals for primary school children. In the world’s 6th economy child poverty truly is a national shame.