Labour blasts Theresa May over ‘shocking’ rise in child poverty
Labour has accused Theresa May of “failing” families, as new figures revealed that the number of children in working households growing up in poverty has soared since 2010.
Analysis by trade union lobby group the TUC estimated that there will be some 3.1m children living in poverty this year - a sharp rise on the 2010 figure of 2.1m, and despite the fact that their parents are in work.
According to the research, the number of children in poverty has risen by at least 30% in every region of the UK, with the East Midlands experiencing the biggest rise among working families, followed by the West Midlands and Northern Ireland.
The analysis – carried out for the TUC by Landman Economics – says around 600,000 children have been driven into poverty because of cuts to benefits and the impact of the public sector pay cap.
The Government has disputed the figures, but Labour’s Lillian Greenwood pinned the blame for the “shocking findings” on spending cuts made since the Conservatives came to power.
"These are the 'just about managing' families that Theresa May promised to help but is failing,” the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said.
“One million more children in working families are growing up in poverty as a direct result of the Conservatives' cuts to in-work support and the public sector pay cap.”
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said child poverty in working households had “shot up since 2010”.
She added: "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."
A Government spokesperson said ministers did not recognise the TUC’s figures.
"The reality is there are now 1 million fewer people living in absolute poverty compared with 2010, including 300,000 fewer children," they said.
“We want every child to get the very best chances in life. We know the best route out of poverty is through work, which is why it’s really encouraging that both the employment rate and household incomes have never been higher.”
The TUC’s findings use the so-called ‘relative’ measure of poverty – which defines poverty as having income after housing costs of less than 60% of the median – rather than the ‘absolute’ measure cited by the Government.