Ashfield MP says kids in poverty are bearing the brunt of austerity

If I asked you to think about child poverty, you might get images of starving children in famines, refugees who have lost everything or Dickensian-style Victorian street urchins begging for food, writes Gloria De Piero MP.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 8:00 am
Gloria De Piero MP

You probably wouldn’t think about a family living down the road from you in the world’s fifth biggest economy in the 21st century.

That is why the new figures from the End Child Poverty organisation are so shocking.

Its research shows that child poverty is becoming the new norm in parts of this country with 500,000 more children living in poverty now compared to in 2010, when the Conservatives came into Government.

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Gloria De Piero MP

In my Ashfield constituency, 31 per cent of children live in poverty after housing costs are taken from their household income.

That is almost a third of kids who are living in homes that struggle to pay the bills, feed the family and buy new clothes — and it is heartbreaking.

The ward by ward breakdown shows that more children live in poverty in the towns of Sutton, Kirkby and Eastwood than the more rural areas in between.

Sutton East has the highest levels of child poverty at 34 per cent, with Underwood, Brinsley, Jacksdale and Eastwood North and Greasley having the lowest levels in Ashfield, still at a rather high 25 per cent.

Child poverty has increased in this area by one percentage point year on year and the Institute for Fiscal Studies projects that child poverty in the UK will rise to more than five million by 2022.

My view is that this rise can be directly attributed to Government policies that are hitting the income of the poorest in society.

The Office for National Statistics has revealed a 3.9 per cent fall in the incomes of the poorest 20 per cent of people, while the richest in the land have benefitted from a 7.5 per cent rise.

There are steps that the Tories can take now to improve this dreadful situation such as reforming Universal Credit and reversing the cuts in children’s services.

It is unacceptable that children are bearing the brunt of Tory austerity policies and it is high time something is done about it.