New government figures prove that the Tories are the party of child poverty

lonely child
John Shafthauer

Between an embarrassing budget U-turn, several startling admissions of oversight from the Brexit Minister, and a call for Scottish independence, Theresa May’s government is looking incompetent and weak. But the thing that really shows the Conservatives for what they are is the release of figures which illustrate that child poverty has staggeringly increased.

Appalling statistics

Figures show that more than 14 million people in the UK now live in relative poverty. This is the highest since 1996/97. And it’s a million more than when the Conservatives took power in 2010.

The number of children living in poverty has also risen. It rose by 400,000 from 2010/11 to 2015/16. Meaning there are now four million children living in poverty.

In the UK.

In the fifth largest economy in the world.

There are four million children – roughly 6% of the population – living in poverty.

And that rise is not even the quickest. The number of pensioners living in poverty rose by 300,000 from 2014/15 to 2015/16 alone, bringing the total up to 1.9 million.

Worse to come

Alison Garnham of The Child Poverty Action Group responded to the latest figures, saying that:

These figures are grim but, according to independent experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the outlook for the next few years is bleaker.

Most worrying of all is that the Government seems to be in a state of denial. Last week’s Budget failed to mention poverty even once.

Child poverty is rising because ordinary families are stuck on low pay while living costs rise and family benefits are cut drastically.

The price of inaction is a generation of children with damaged life chances.

Government response

A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions said:

Average household incomes have risen to a record high and income inequality is lower than in 2009/10.

Today’s figures confirm that work is the best route out of poverty, so it represents significant progress that the number of children living in a workless household is down by 590,000 since 2010.

One child living in poverty is one too many and we remain committed to tackling the root causes of disadvantage.

Hollow words

The government can claim that things are improving, but that doesn’t change the reality that they aren’t. Cherry-picking statistics doesn’t do anything to help the four million children in poverty. It doesn’t do anything to support the 1.9 million pensioners who are being let down. And it certainly doesn’t do anything to stop people of good conscience seeing through their hollow assurances.

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– You can support The Canary to get more of the news that matters.

– You can also read more about The Child Poverty Action Group and follow them on Twitter.

Featured image via Flickr

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