This week I met with End Child Poverty to discuss their research which found that child poverty, after housing costs had increased by 2% in Delyn. This means that 1 in 4 children in the constituency now live in poverty.
The End Child Poverty coalition has published child poverty rates for each constituency, ward and local authority across Britain. The research is carried out by Professor Donald Hirsch and Dr Juliet Stone at the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. They have applied a technique called Small Area Estimation used by other research bodies such as the Office for National Statistics and World Bank, which considers the relationship between large national surveys and local administrative data to calculate levels of child poverty at the local level.
Child poverty is asking MPs to support a number of measures:
• Restoring the link between benefits (including housing support) and inflation, and then making up for the loss in the real value in children’s benefits as a result of the 4-year freeze and previous sub-inflation increases in benefit rates.
• Ending the two-child limit on child allowances in tax credits and universal credit and reforming Universal Credit; and
• Reversing the cuts and investing in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care.
David Hanson MP has pledged his support for these aims.
The figures demonstrate that child poverty is a real threat to children’s futures in all parts of Delyn. The following wards have the highest child poverty rates, after housing costs, in Delyn:
• Greenfield – 36%
• Flint Castle – 39%
• Holywell Central – 36%
• Mold West – 24%
This week the UK Government released its unemployment figures with great fanfare. Ignoring the fact that constituencies, like Delyn, still have over 1,000 people without a job. I noted how these figures covered up the fact that many families are now working in low-paid employment on zero-hours contracts. These child poverty figures prove my worst fears to be true.
It is infuriating that the UK is one of the richest nations in the world and after 9 years under this Government’s rule we have seen child poverty hit levels not seen since the last time they were in power. It took the Labour Government 13 years to nearly eradicate poverty in Delyn and the country and all that hard work has been wasted.
Child poverty impacts all of us. Children growing up in poverty are having their life chances dramatically reduced. Failing to support families in poverty mean that we are watching talented people being left behind. I cannot stand to see someone’s hopes and ambitions halted because of a failure of government. The UK Government need to halt Universal Credit, increase investment into our communities and bring an end to zero-hours exploitative contracts.