Commenting on the Government’s response to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee’s report Children in poverty: Measurement and targets, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The Committee’s report rightly recommended that the Government commit to a cross-departmental strategy to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the UK.
"It is therefore of great concern to the National Education Union that the Government has rejected the Committee’s call in its response published today. 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. This impacts on their education in multiple ways. 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.
"Government also needs to address in-work poverty. We know that research from Child Poverty Action Group shows that 75% of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one person works. TUC research has found that one million children in key worker households live in poverty.
"The Government must act urgently to tackle the root causes of poverty, including low wages and zero hours contracts, as well as the symptoms such as holiday hunger, and the digital divide in order to create the conditions in which all our school children can thrive and learn, ensuring that no child is held back as a result of poverty."