7,800 Rotherham kids living in poverty, MP claims

ROTHERHAM MP Sarah Champion has blamed the government’s approach to social security for leaving children in poverty.

Ms Champion said benefit caps and limits to child tax credits imposed since the Conservatives came to power would create a “long-lasting impact” of harm to children.

She said: “There are 7,848 children living in poverty in Rotherham.

“That is 42.7 per cent of all children in our constituency.

“Poverty wastes potential and harms our country’s success and prosperity.

“More important still, it hurts children, not just in the future, but as they grow up.

“It harms their health and damages their self esteem and wellbeing.

“The social security system needs to be more fit for purpose and provide a basic standard of living for everyone.

“I have serious concerns that the benefit cap and the two-child limit for UC and child tax credits have pushed more children into hardship.”

Ms Champion said: “The government’s £650 one-off payment for those on low incomes is welcome, but emergency measures do not give vulnerable people the security they need, and in many cases, they do not match individual circumstances as the social security system does, however imperfectly.

“More widely, I believe the wellbeing of all children should be a priority in our recovery from the pandemic.

“I have long supported calls for a children’s recovery plan, including measures to ensure no child goes hungry and an education recovery premium for children who have faced the greatest disruption during the pandemic.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said vulnerable families were being supported through the Household Support Fund - boosted by £500 million - to help pay for “essentials”.

A spokesperson added: “Latest figures show that there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs compared to 2019/20.

“But we recognise people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are protecting millions of the most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of direct payments, starting with the £326 cost of living payment, which has already been issued to more than seven million low income households.

“Through our £37 billion support package we are saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut, allowing people on UC to keep £1,000 more of what they earn, while all households will receive £400 energy payments.”