Sunday 01 August, 2021

Over one million children of frontline key workers are living in poverty

Current government policies are expected to contribute to an increase in child poverty.

Over a million children of key workers are presently living in poverty, according to new data released today by the TUC and prepared by Landman Economics.

According to the research, which used the government’s definition of key workers, more than a quarter of children in key worker homes live in poverty in some locations.

Child poverty is highest among key worker households in the North East (29 percent), followed by London (27 percent), the West Midlands (25 percent), and Yorkshire and the Humber (25 percent).

According to the TUC, the primary causes of key worker family poverty are low pay and unstable hours, which frequently overlap in occupations such as care workers, delivery drivers, and grocery employees.

Housing expenses continue to eat into key worker families’ budgets for necessities like groceries and utilities bills.

Additionally, support through Universal Credit is insufficient to ensure families escape poverty.

Current government policies are expected to contribute to an increase in child poverty. Ministers have limited salary increases for critical public sector employees, which in certain cases may result in actual wage reductions.

Additionally, the chancellor intends to slash Universal Credit by £20 per week for low-income families in October.

The TUC fears that these policies would damage the country’s economic recovery by reducing consumer spending. This will dampen economic activity and have a negative effect on pay growth for other employees across the economy.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Every key worker deserves a decent standard of living for their family. But too often their hard work is not paying off like it should. And they struggle to keep up with the basic costs of family life.

“The prime minister has promised to ‘build back fairer’. He should start with our key workers. They put themselves in harm’s way to keep the country going through the pandemic. Now, we must be there for them too.

“This isn’t just about doing right thing by key workers. If we put more money in the pockets of working families, their spending will help our businesses and high streets recover. It’s the fuel in the tank that our economy needs.”

The TUC is calling on the UK Government to raise the national minimum wage to £10 per hour, end the freeze on public service workers’ pay and give all public service workers a decent pay rise.

They also urge the UK Government to properly funding the public sector, cancel the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit and increase child benefit above inflation each year across the parliament.

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