I recently received new data from the Children’s Society detailing statistics on children’s lives in Delyn.
The report states that there are 14,398 children living in Delyn. Of those children 3,417 children are living in poverty. Most concerning is that within that figure 2,346 children are living in a household where at least one adult is in work. This shows that for too many families a move into work is not a move out of poverty. Nationally, more than seven million children live in families facing a four-year freeze to their benefits and the cumulative changes to support will mean many families will lose out overall. Demonstrating that the introduction of a higher minimum wage, wrongly dubbed the ‘National Living Wage’ by the Government, has not helped in-work families.
The Children’s Society report also states that 4,341 children in Delyn will live in families in receipt of Universal Credit. The new system had real potential, but the Government decided to use it to harm in-work families and it is high time that they reviewed the opportunities available to them to ensure it really supports the families that need it most. Many disabled children will get considerably less support under Universal Credit. For many, the value of the disabled child additions in Universal Credit will be worth only half their current value through the disability element of tax credits. This will clearly have a significant effect on their family income and well-being.
It is estimated, by the Children’s Society, that around 4,922 children in Delyn live in families in problem debt. Their research has found that around a third of families in problem debt say they have cut back on food within the last month, with a similar proportion saying they cut back on heating, and also on clothing for their children every month in order to keep up repayments.
This news comes just days after the Prime Minister abolished the Civil Service Child Poverty Unity, which is designed to focus policy on bringing poverty to an end.
These figures are deeply concerning for Delyn, and the nation as a whole. It shows that 6 years of the Government mismanaging our social security system has resulted in child poverty remaining too high. With nearly a quarter of all children in Delyn living in poverty it shows that the Government’s policies have, and continue to, fail the most vulnerable in our communities. What we need now is a radical rethink of how the UK can best pull together our resources to lift these children out of poverty.
What I find most worrying is that 2,346 children in poverty are so with at least one adult in the household in work. This demonstrates that in-work no longer means out of poverty. We so desperately need decent jobs that pay a good days pay. For too long wages have stagnated and the cost of living has increased leaving once comfortable families struggling to get by.
As the cost of living continues to rise families are being forced into debt to make ends meet. Delyn now has 4,922 children living in families with problem debt. We have already seen the Government’s slowness to act on pay-day lenders and I fear that this will continue when tackling the rising debt families now face. Continued failure to tackle child poverty will result in a lost generation. The Government must act now.