Co-leader of the Opposition, Councillor John Allcock, has written in The Argus this week about the rise in child poverty and Labour’s efforts locally to support disadvantaged families. Here is an excerpt below:
“The economic fallout of the pandemic, Brexit and the fuel crisis is having a terrible impact across society, but particularly on poorer families and child poverty.
“Nationally, 2.5 million children are estimated to live in households experiencing food insecurity. This carries a huge human cost which children are likely to bear for the rest of their lives, affecting their relationships, attainment, and health.
“Locally, that there was a shocking 33% increase of 1,628 children entitled to free school meals in Brighton & Hove between May 2019 and May 2021. The total number of children in our city entitled to free school meals is now 6,568, according to the school census; and that figure is already 6 months out of date and likely to rise further.
“This spike in child poverty comes off the back of years of Tory government cuts…
“…The recent bad news is that the Chancellor is pressing on with the cut to the standard element of Universal Credit. That’s a huge bite out of family budgets – £20 a week, £87 a month and £1,040 a year…
“…Consequently, I of course welcomed the Household Support Fund at the recent Recovery Committee meeting, which is in effect another one-off emergency sticking plaster for the winter that the Council is charged with distributing.
“I was, however, disappointed that the Green administration did not back Labour’s proposals to increase the value of supermarket food vouchers for children entitled to free school meals, from £15 each to £20 each per week…
“…In what is likely to be one of the toughest winters in living memory, I would have hoped the Green administration would back our plans to more effectively tackle child poverty.”
You can read Cllr Allcock’s full column here.