Margaret Greenwood MP has said that government policies such as the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit are making matters worse when it comes to child poverty.
The Wirral West MP, who served as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions between 2018 and 2020, was speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall.
She highlighted research by the End Child Poverty coalition which estimates that almost a third of children in the north west are growing up in poverty.
The same research found that 20% of children in Wirral West were living in poverty in 2020 and that this had increased from 2015.
As well as reversing the cut to Universal Credit, Margaret Greenwood is calling on the government to raise child benefit and scrap the two-child limit and benefit cap.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “Figures from the End Child Poverty coalition show that well over 2,000 children were living in poverty in Wirral West in 2020. That is more than 20% of children.
“Unfortunately, it is a very similar story across Merseyside.
“Poverty can have a devastating impact on children’s lives and on their futures. It can impact on how well they do at school, how secure they feel and on how happy they are. It can also have an effect on their physical and mental health.
“As we are all too aware, we are facing a cost of living crisis. For struggling parents, this is making things even harder. Inflation is rising, the energy price cap is set to increase, the government has cut Universal Credit by £20 a week and National Insurance Contributions are set to go up in April.
“This all adds to the pressures on household budgets, and it, of course, impacts greatly on children, whether that be on the amount and quality of the food that their parents can provide for them, the clothes they wear or the warmth of the home they live in. It also impacts on their access to education, with families in poverty less likely to have Internet access or the money for bus fares.
“Ministers should raise child benefit by at least £10 per child per week, scrap the two-child limit and the benefit cap and reverse the cut to Universal Credit.
“The government really must make it a priority to end child poverty so that every child has the best possible chance in life.”