In response to the Prime Minister’s party conference speech, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:
“Despite its billing, despite all the slogans on the stage, this was not really a speech about aspiration and building a country that works for everyone. To do that the Prime Minister should have directly addressed UK poverty, one of the ‘burning injustices’ which she spoke about last year.
“We know child poverty destroys dreams and aspirations and divides our society between the haves and the have-nots. UK child poverty has now risen to 4 million and independent projections from the Institute for Fiscal Studies warn that it could rise to over 5 million by the end of this Parliament.
“We cannot continue to ignore this threat to the living standards of ordinary families, the majority of them working. Some action to pause and fix universal credit and restore its ability to make work pay is urgently needed, to restore work allowances and remove benefit freezes, otherwise it will simply continue to rollout worse living standards to low-paid families.
“The announcement on social housing is welcome but it should be the beginning of a comprehensive programme of reform to fix the housing market. Breaking the link between housing benefits and actual rents is having a devastating impact on families with children, particularly those in London.
“If talk about the British Dream means anything then it means immediate action to stop poverty damaging the childhoods and destroying the life chances of our children.”
CPAG press contact: Jane Ahrends on 0207 812 5216 or 07816 909302