Margaret Greenwoood MP launched Labour’s National Conversation about Child Poverty and Life Chances in Wirral on Friday 3rd March as part of her role as Shadow Minister for Employment and Inequalities.
Both Margaret and I spoke at the start of the event which was attended by a wide range of people from the area including local Councillors, representatives from voluntary and community organisations, the NHS, the police, local schools and churches.
It is the first in a series of small group discussions, going across the country, where participants have the opportunity to contribute their views on:
- the impact on children of growing up in poverty
- what the causes of child poverty are
- what should be done to tackle it
Margaret Greenwood said “The aim of the Labour’s National Conversation about Child Poverty and Life Chances campaign is to raise awareness of child poverty as an issue of national importance and to develop a dialogue with individuals and organisations about what needs to be done to reduce it.
Growing up in poverty can affect a child’s physical and mental health, educational attainment and their all important relationships with other children. Poverty can lead to family tensions and breakdown. Security and stability are immensely important to children and their future life chances.
The last Labour government made tackling child poverty a key priority and had a cross-government strategy to achieve it which lifted 1.1 million children out of poverty. Since then progress has stalled and there is now a real danger that it could be reversed as the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) reported today (2/3/17) that tax and benefit changes in this Parliament could mean 1 million more children living in poverty by 2020.
We need a renewed effort to make people aware that child poverty is not just still with us but growing again. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century children should go hungry and that families should be fed by food banks. As a society we must make sure that children have the best start in life. There should be no place for poverty and hunger in modern Britain.”
The Tories clearly don’t see tackling child poverty as a priority and have disbanded the Child Poverty Unit, set up by Labour, and abolished the targets set by the 2010 Child Poverty Act to reduce child poverty.
Labour’s policies to tackle the shocking projected increase in child poverty, predicted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) will be informed by Margaret’s findings during the National Conversation on Child Poverty and Life Chances engagement campaign.
You can watch a short video from the event below: