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The shameful rise of child poverty

Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley MP.
Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley MP.

The TUC has exposed a shameful fact – the number of children growing up in poverty in working households is set to be one million higher this year than when the Tories took power.

They include almost 18,000 north east children whose parents are public sector workers, up 4,000 since 2010, which marks a 37 per cent rise.

In my Blyth Valley constituency almost 2,900 children overall are living below the poverty line, or almost one in five. But having working parents does not always get them above the threshold.

The latest analysis, carried out for the TUC by Landman Economics, estimates that 3.1 million children with working parents will be below the official breadline in 2018, compared to 2.1 million at the start of the decade. That’s a 48 per cent increase over the period.

Children with at least one working parent will account for two-thirds of children living in poverty in 2018. In addition, over 600,000 children with working parents have been pushed into poverty because of the government’s in-work benefit cuts and public sector pay curbs.

Other key factors include weak wage growth, the curse of insecure work and an increase in working families.

Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes – their average household income has fallen by £83 a week in real terms.

Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector have lost, on average, £53 a week.

However, households with private sector workers only have seen their incomes fall by £32 a week on average.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady was right to say: “Years of falling incomes and benefit cuts have had a terrible human cost. Millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. The government is in denial about how many working families just can’t make ends meet.”