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Child poverty up by 56 per cent across West Midlands, TUC says

Wolverhampton | General Election 2019 | Published:

The number of children growing up in poverty in working households in the West Midlands has rocketed by more than 50 per cent since 2010, according to a leading trade union.

Eleanor Smith is Labour's candidate for Wolverhampton South West in the general election

The TUC said since the start of the decade, child poverty in working families across the region rose by 108,006 (56 per cent) to almost 300,000 – the second biggest rise in the country outside London.

In the UK child poverty in working families went up by 38 per cent to 2.9 million, according to the research.

In 2010, one in five children in working households were growing up in poverty, but by 2018 this had increased to one in four, the trade union found.

The TUC claims that government policies going back to the Conservative-Li Dem coalition have accounted for most of the in-work poverty increase.

Its findings have been described as "shameful" by Labour's Wolverhampton South West candidate Eleanor Smith, who said: "These are families where parents have to choose between putting the heating on, or giving their family a proper meal

"Families who suffer the constant stress of trying to pay off debts. Families who can’t afford school trips, or to travel to see relatives just a few towns away.

"We’re one of the richest countries in the world – things don’t have to be like this."

Ms Smith claimed her party's pledge of a £10-an-hour living wage would end in-work poverty "for everyone, immediately".

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The TUC report added that weak wage growth and "insecure work" were also factors behind the rise in child poverty.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: "No child in Britain should be growing up in poverty, but millions of parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids.

"The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy.

"We need a government that puts working families first, not wealthy donors and hedge funds."

The Conservatives have pledged to prioritise tackling poverty.

The TUC figures were compiled by Landman Economics, which is run by Howard Reed, a former chief economist at the left-wing think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

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