New research published on Monday by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) reveals that child poverty in working households has increased by 800,000 since 2010, with the TUC blaming years of cuts to social security benefits.
The analysis reveals that child poverty in working families rose to 2.9 million in 2018 – an increase of 38% since the start of the decade.
The analysis includes all tax and social security measures introduced under the 2010-15 coalition government and subsequent Conservative governments, including Universal Credit.
In 2010, 1 in 5 (19%) children in working households were growing up in poverty. In 2018 this had increased to 1 in 4 (24%).
Labour said both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should “hang their heads in shame” for welfare cuts and changes that have pushed more children and their families into poverty.
According to the research, more than 485,000 children from working households have been pushed into poverty as a direct result of in-work benefit cuts.
Other factors driving the increase are weak wage growth, the growth in insecure work like zero-hours contracts, and population growth.
TUC says the rise in the number of working households hasn’t been enough to lift families out of poverty.
TUC are calling on all political parties to scrap Universal Credit, raise the ‘National Living Wage’ to £10 an hour, ban zero-hours contracts, and give all workers new rights to join trade unions.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No child in Britain should be growing up in poverty.
“But millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids. That is not right.
“The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy.
“We need a government that puts working families first, not wealthy donors and hedge funds.”
Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The Conservatives and Lib Dems should hang their heads in shame for nine years of austerity which has left working families struggling to feed their children, as shown by these new shocking figures.
“How we care for and protect our children is a mark of a civilised society. The TUC’s figures show just how badly Conservative and Lib Dem coalition governments have failed them.
“Labour will make tackling child poverty the priority it should be. We will provide 30 hours free childcare a week to all 2-4 year olds, free school meals to all primary school children and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for workers aged 16 and over.”
SNP spokesperson for Social Justice Neil Gray added: “This research shows the stark reality of life in the UK after a decade of Tory cuts – on 12th December a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape cruel Tory austerity cuts such as the two-child cap, the rape clause, the harmful benefits sanctions regime, and the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit.
“It is also a vote to escape Brexit, which will hit those on low incomes the hardest.
“The SNP’s plan for a UK Poverty and Inequality Commission will help ensure these cruel and callous policies are never again inflicted on Scotland or across the UK.
“While the SNP Scottish Government is using the powers we currently have to mitigate Tory austerity, we know that only with full powers over social security and employment can we introduce inclusive and progressive policies to end poverty and support our citizens to build a better future.
“A vote for the SNP is a vote to give Scotland a choice over our future and to tackle the deep-seated inequalities in our society – shifting the curve on poverty without our efforts being undermined by another government’s policies.”
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