ALMOST a million more children are seeing their futures blighted by poverty, despite their parents working, according to analysis by the TUC.
Since 2010 the number has risen by 800,000 to reach 2.9 million in 2018. This is a 38% increase since the start of the decade, the TUC said.
Unsurprisingly, London has suffered the biggest increase in child poverty – rising 68% – but other regions have also seen some big jumps. In both the West Midlands and the East of England regions, child poverty in working households has risen 56%.
Here in the North of England, the North East has seen a 52% rise, with an extra 37,413 children bringing the total to 108,775. In the North West, there has been a 39% rise (93,890) to a total of 335,190. In Yorkshire & Humberside, a 5% rise has seen an extra 10,744 children endure the hardships of working poverty, bringing the region’s total to 217,571.
The TUC lays much of the blame of this rise of in-work poverty on government policies since 2010. More than 485,000 children in working households have been “pushed below” the breadline as a direct result of Government cuts to in-work benefit. Other key factors include:
- Weak wage growth
- The spread of insecure work
- Population growth
- The rise in the number of working households hasn’t been enough to lift families out of poverty
“No child in Britain should be growing up in poverty,” said Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary. “But millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. That is not right.
“The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy.
“We need a government that puts working families first, not wealthy donors and hedge funds.”
The TUC is calling on all political parties to commit to raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour; stop and scrap Universal Credit; ban zero-hours contracts; and give workers new rights to join unions and bargain for better pay and conditions across industries.
Responding to the TUC’s claims, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Margaret Greenwood, said: “The Conservatives and Lib Dems should hang their heads in shame for nine years of austerity which has left working families struggling to feed their children, as shown by these new shocking figures.
“How we care for and protect our children is a mark of a civilised society. The TUC’s figures show just how badly Conservative and Lib Dem coalition governments have failed them.
“Labour will make tackling child poverty the priority it should be. We will provide 30 hours free childcare a week to all 2-4 year olds, free school meals to all primary school children and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for workers aged 16 and over.”