According to new figures released by End Child Poverty, around one in three children in Greater Manchester live below the poverty line.
In Manchester the figures have our region as one of the highest for Child Poverty, with around 40% of children living in poverty. This is further exemplified within my own constituency, as Werneth and Coldhurst have been identified as areas with the highest levels of Child Poverty.
I want every child in Oldham to have equal opportunity to succeed, and the fact that government policy is to decrease these opportunities to excel and limit our children to what they have always known deeply troubles me.
Child Poverty seems to be becoming the norm in our society. A total of 14 million people in the UK were in poverty in 2017/18. This includes 4.1 million children, a rise of 500,000 since 2010/11. This must change, our children deserve better than this.
The policies which have led to this are clear for all to see; Universal Credit, two child restrictions on benefits, the loss in the real value in children’s benefits as a result of the 4-year freeze and the link between benefits and inflation being ignored by the government and families being forced to use food banks.
This coupled with the governments record on in-work poverty, with around 4 million workers in poverty, this shows that the answer is not cuts, not austerity, the answer is investment. Investment in our children, constituents, and country.
The New Economics Foundation has found that 100 billion has been lost from the economy as a result of this government’s austerity policies. That money could and should have gone toward our children and their futures.
We need a radical overhaul of the way this government deals with child poverty and poverty overall.
We need ambitious and credible alternatives for both reducing and then eradicating Child Poverty in Oldham, Manchester and the UK.
Labour will reverse the cuts and investing in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care. We will invest in our future and create a new Child Poverty Strategy to eradicate the problem.