Child poverty has led to some students going without food during holidays. This has raised concern to members of parliament (MP) with Mr. Lavery, the Labor MP for Wansbeck conducting research which has highlighted this issue in depth.
Labor MP for Wansbeck, Ian Lavery, has released a report which claims that the level of child poverty is at its worst in his constituency. He noted that children were going to school hungry, broken shoes and worn-out clothes. This situation was heartbreaking to the MP and he decided to get into the bottom of this matter.
Child poverty levels in Wansbeck
He collaborated with the National Education Union (NEU) where they interviewed teachers to try and determine how bad the situation. The data they were provided showed that 35 percent of students leaving in the area is poor. The data also showed that there were approximately 5,909 children in the Wansbeck area who are poor. 95 percent of the teachers who were interviewed also confirmed that some of the students in their classrooms went hungry during the holidays. This was as a result of not accessing the free food program available at schools. 65 percent of these teachers also said that the situations have continued worsening over the last three years.
83 percent of the teachers interviewed also highlighted that they started seeing parents being unable to afford adequate shoes and clothing. The teachers admitted that more often they have taken the responsibility of providing these students with some of their needs such as food, books, clothes and sanitary products.
£7.1bn per year in school funding until 2023 not enough
According to NEU, this may be a result of the recent cuts by the government with some school spending dropping to £660 per student. This drastic decrease in funding started in 2015, and although the government had promised to raise spending in these schools, it has remained a pipe dream. Mr. Lavery’s report claimed that the proposed £7.1bn per year in school funding until 2023 was not enough after looking at the state in which the schools were being run.
Northumbria Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said that an increase in poverty levels have seen a sharp increase in crime in the area. He agreed with the Lavery’s report and hoped something could be done to address this issue. A Government spokeswoman said:
Tackling child poverty will always be a priority for this Government.
This shows the increased concern and participation of the government in fighting poverty. Reports have shown that the poverty gap of school-going children is being addressed by both parties and has reduced significantly in the last few years.