National Education Union joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney called on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to adopt the NEU’s policy proposals to tackle child poverty.

This was based upon new research published by the End Child Poverty coalition shows the shocking reality of child poverty in the UK, even before the further impacts of Covid and recession. Our big cities continue to have very high rates of child poverty – particularly London and Birmingham – whilst the North East of England has experienced the greatest rises in child poverty since 2014/15. 

The analysis, in a report commissioned by the End Child Poverty coalition, shows that here in Bolton in 2014/15 just over 32% of children aged 16 and under were living in families with low incomes and that has risen by 6% to 39% in 2018 / 19 we can only wonder what that figure will now be under a pandemic.

The plight of children going hungry is one that Marcus Rashford has taken the government to task over recently urging his 3.4 million Twitter followers to lobby MPs to back his campaign which was taken up by Labour’s motion calls for the scheme to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021.

The Labour party’s analysis showed that nearly one million children living in areas subject to Tier 2 and Tier 3 corona virus restrictions are set to lose access to free school meals over the coming holidays.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “This vote is about our values as a country and whether the government, in the middle of this crisis, is happy to let our children go hungry.  “Millions of families up and down the country are facing a bleak winter of real hardship as the furlough scheme is withdrawn and further restrictions are put in place without proper support for businesses, jobs and livelihoods.”

The government had previously bowed to pressure and extended meals over the summer holidays, but whipped Tory MPs to defeat the motion by 322 votes to 261 a majority of 61 showing their promise of levelling up to be nothing more than hot air with Bolton MPs voting

Members voting ‘aye’ (in favour of the Labour motion)

Yasmin Qureshi – Labour (Bolton South East) 

Members voting ‘no’ (against the Labour motion)

Mark Logan – Conservative (Bolton North East)  

Chris Green – Conservative (Bolton West)  

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon announced the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, which is an additional payment of £10 per child per week for low income families.

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