Jeremy Corbyn accuses Tories of 'failing a whole generation of children' as he vows 'radical' action

Posted On: 
23rd August 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Conservatives of "failing a whole generation of children" as he vowed "radical action" to combat child poverty and homelessness.

The Labour leader accused the Conservatives of preventing children from reaching their "full potential".
Credit: 
PA

The Labour leader - who will visit a kids' lunch club in Wales on Friday - talked up his party's pledges to end the freeze on working age benefits, build new homes, and boost childcare services as he claimed the Government had allowed working class children to be "held back".

But the Tories hit back, saying more children than ever were now living in homes with someone in work, and claiming that Labour's policies would "wreck the economy".

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Mr Corbyn seized on a report published this week by the Chidren's Commissioner for England, which warned that as many as 210,000 children may now be living without a permanent home.

The report cited cases of families who were being housed by councils in shipping containers and office blocks because of a lack of suitable permanent housing.

The Labour leader said: "The Tories are failing a whole generation of children.

"A child growing up in a shipping container or a B&B, or going to school hungry, cannot be expected to reach their full potential."

And he added: "The measure of our society is how we treat our most vulnerable. And who could be more vulnerable than a homeless child?

"We have a moral responsibility to end the scandal of child poverty and homelessness."

Labour also flagged new research from education charity Teach First, which warned this week that pupils from the most disadvantaged areas of the country are nearly twice as likely to fail their Maths GCSE as kids from the wealthiest.

Mr Corbyn said his party would take "radical action to unlock the potential of every child", reiterating pledges to provide free school meals for all primary children; kick off the "biggest council housing programme in a generation"; and halt the closure of Sure Start children's centres.

The party is also vowing to cut classroom sizes, bring in a £10-an-hour living wage and end the benefit freeze in a bid to tackle poverty.

But Conservative Party deputy chairman Paul Scully said: "Jeremy Corbyn would wreck the economy, which would drive up poverty and unemployment.

"Work is the best route out of poverty. It’s the Conservatives who have brought down unemployment to its lowest levels since the 1970s, meaning more children than ever before living in a working home.

"Labour would tax more, borrow more and waste more, and just like last time it’s working people who would pay the price."