Responding to a TUC report showing that the number of children growing up in poverty in working households in Westminster has increased by 246,554, an increase of 68% since the Tories came to power in 2010, aided by the Lib Dems in a coalition government, Labour’s candidate in Cities of London and Westminster, Gordon Nardell, QC, said:
“These figures bring shame on the Tories, and also on the Tories and Lib Dems as a whole since the latter went into coalition with them in 2010.
“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.
“It’s now widely accepted that the coalition’s politically motivated cuts didn’t help our economy recover – they slowed us down. Will the Tories, and the current Conservative candidate for Cities of London & Westminster and leader of Westminster Council, Nickie Aiken, now admit that those cuts failed?
“You can’t trust Boris Johnson, who oversaw the cuts in our city, to end child poverty as prime minister. And you can’t trust the Lib Dems, who happily voted through austerity for half a decade.
“We need real change. Labour will end in-work poverty with our £10 an hour real living wage – for everyone, immediately.”
Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“The Conservatives and Lib Dems should hang their heads in shame for nine years of austerity which has left working families struggling to feed their children, as shown by these new shocking figures.
“How we care for and protect our children is a mark of a civilised society. The TUC’s figures show just how badly Conservative and Lib Dem coalition governments have failed them.
“Labour will make tackling child poverty the priority it should be. We will provide 30 hours free childcare a week to all 2-4 year olds, free school meals to all primary school children and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for workers aged 16 and over.”