Thank you for contacting me about child poverty.
I can assure you that eradicating child poverty is an absolute priority. I proudly stood on a manifesto that pledged to continue efforts through the tax and benefits system to reduce poverty, including child poverty. I firmly believe that children should grow up in an environment with no limits to their potential and I am pleased the Government is making it a priority to put more money in the pockets of low-paid workers.
I am encouraged by the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to do whatever it takes to support people during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, and I welcome that this has included a number of measures to protect children and ensure no child goes hungry. Due to the pandemic, I know that many children and parents in Hastings and Rye faced an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, additional funding was provided for a ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’ which enabled children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period.
This is part of the wider support available for children and families at this challenging time. I am delighted that an additional £63 million has been distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials. In addition to this, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit have been temporarily uplifted by around £1,000 a year as part of an injection of over £9.3 billion into the welfare system.
There is no doubt that we need a new approach to child poverty which tackles the causes of disadvantage and transforms families lives and life chances. This Government is looking at what needs to be done and I welcome the focus on strengthening families, helping people into work by providing opportunities for people to up-skill and re-train, and providing the best targeted support to the most vulnerable.
I will be keeping a close watch on this issue and will do all I can to ensure our children are protected from poverty.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.
Sally-Ann Hart MP