Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) is joining national calls for the Government to prioritise tackling poverty in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, after new analysis showed that child poverty soared in some parts of Greater Manchester over the last four years.
The analysis, published by the End Child Poverty Coalition (ECP), finds that between 2014/15 and 2018/19, child poverty rose by 2.8% across Britain as a whole, but that increases were much higher in areas already beset by poverty and deprivation.
Worryingly, child poverty rose in each of Greater Manchester’s ten borough over the same period. Oldham saw the largest increases in child poverty as it rose from 28.7% to 38%. Bolton, Manchester and Tameside all saw increases twice the national average. Stockport and Trafford were the only Greater Manchester boroughs to experience increases in child poverty lower than the national average.
Graham Whitham, Director of GMPA, said:
“Even before the devastating impact of Covid-19 on household incomes, child poverty has been rising rapidly in some of the poorest communities in Greater Manchester, leaving growing numbers of children cut adrift and ill equipped to cope with the impact of the pandemic.
Child poverty has been rising across Greater Manchester and, as with the financial crash, we know it is already poor families and communities that will take longest to recover from the current crisis. It is vital government makes tackling poverty a priority.”
GMPA is calling on central government to introduce a UK child poverty strategy and set targets for reducing child poverty as well as substantially increasing Child Benefit.
This,it says, is the quickest and most efficient means of getting extra money into the pockets of families.
The ending the two-child limit that restricts benefit payments to the first two children in the household as well as
scrapping the benefit cap that limits the total amount of support a household can receive through the benefit system; and
They also call on the Government to extra funding towards council’s local welfare assistance schemes so that they can meet the extra demand for support over the coming weeks and months.