This month it was revealed that childhood poverty has dramatically increased in the North East, with over 34% of children in County Durham now living in poverty. Stagnating wages and high housing costs are to blame and most of these children live in households where the parents are working.
These figures were based on 2019, pre-covid, data gathering and so do not yet take into account that since March a million people have dropped off the national payroll, 32% of families have had a drop in income and food poverty has increased by a staggering 250% and rising.
1.4 million UK children experience food insecurity during school holidays and 6.3% report being worried about being hungry in the October half term holidays (Food Foundation) with this in mind, and the exceptional circumstance the country is currently in, the Labour Party brought forward a proposal to Parliament for England to follow the example of the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments so that our poorest children could continue to receive free school meals during the school holidays, as they did earlier in the year.
This would have cost less than 60 million across England, which sounds a lot, but is actually peanuts when it comes to government expenditure, and when the government is facing legal action having failed to account for THREE BILLION it has spent on private contracts since Lockdown.
This bill was voted down by the Tories, including our own Tory MP and multi property landlord, Paul Howell, who, while actively voting for OUR kids to go hungry in a time of national crisis, posted pictures of HIS extravagant restaurant meals on his own Facebook page.
The decision to let our children go hungry was a political one, an ideological choice devoid of any ethics or compassion, made by this Tory government based on its total contempt for the working class people in this country, while they seek to line the pockets of the rich. We hope people remember this callous and wicked political choice when it comes to the next elections.
Sedgefield CLP Labour Woman’s Forum.