Commenting on Children in poverty: Measurement and targets, a report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“This report demonstrates the impact of coronavirus on families living on the brink. We know that even before coronavirus, 4.3 million children and young people were growing up trapped in poverty and this is only going to be made worse as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Indeed, in January 2021, an NEU survey found that more than half of education staff (55%) had seen an increase in child poverty at their school or college since the start of the first national lockdown in March 2020.
"The NEU agrees with the Committee's call for a new cross-departmental strategy to tackle child poverty. There needs to be clear and immediate action from every part of Government to tackle the inequalities which have widened even further because of the pandemic.
"Cuts of £20 a week to Universal Credit and the impact that this will have on families is also an issue of great concern. The latest independent analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the cut risks plunging 500,000 people into poverty, including 200,000 children. As the Committee highlights, most children in poverty are in working families. For these families, work does not provide a route out of poverty. The Government must #KeepTheLifeline this October and avoid causing immense, immediate, and avoidable hardship.
“Government must act urgently to create the conditions in which all children can thrive and learn and ensure that no child is held back as a result of poverty.”