Newcastle MP hits out at Michael Gove for inaction on child poverty

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Catherine McKinnell responded to the Levelling Up White Paper

A Newcastle MP has hit out at the Government for its lack of action addressing child poverty in response to the Levelling Up White Paper.

MP for Newcastle North, Catherine McKinnell challenged the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to do more.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The MP said: “Even before the pandemic two in five children and young people in North East England were growing up in poverty”.

“It’s hard to understand why this White Paper doesn’t address the issue of the lack of cross-Government strategy to tackle child poverty.

“If levelling up is to mean anything, surely it must mean tackling child poverty in the North East”.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation released its UK Poverty Report 2022 on Tuesday, January 18 and found that 1.8 million children in the UK were growing up in 'very deep poverty' even before the pandemic hit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That is set to be compounded by the imminent rise in bill prices.

On a local scale, it means thousands will face a 'cost of living emergency' across the North East.

The North East Child Poverty Commission is hosted by, but independent of Newcastle University and is made up of representatives from different sectors in the region.

Responding to the findings in the UK Poverty Report 2022, Amanda Bailey, Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission said: "The North East was already facing a child poverty crisis before Covid-19, a situation made worse for far too many families across our region as a result of the pandemic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Many thousands are now facing a cost of living emergency, thanks to a toxic combination of incomes which are simply far too low and rapidly rising household bills.

"The report adds yet more weight to the huge amount of data we have on the scale and depth of poverty in this country, and the mountains of evidence on the lifelong and damaging effects that experiencing poverty in childhood can have, with a large and growing number of the youngest children only knowing a life of hardship and deprivation."

Following her question to Mr Gove, Catherine commented: “We had the Integrated Rail Plan betrayal, and now, after years of waiting for today’s White Paper, we have seen once again that this Government is all bluster and no delivery.

“Under this Government, we have seen the number of children and young people in the North East growing up in poverty rising, giving us the second highest and fastest rising child poverty rate of anywhere in the country.

“Talk of ‘levelling up’ is meaningless when children and young people in the North East are having their life chances held back by ever-increasing numbers growing up in poverty”.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.