Poverty is denying a generation of children the chance to flourish

Today the Mirror devotes six pages to the plight of the millions of children living in poverty in the UK.

This special issue marks the 20th anniversary of Labour’s pledge to eradicate child poverty.

Much progress was made under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown but that good work was undone by the Conservatives.

There are debates about how you measure child poverty but the metric used by most charities shows there  are 4.1million children living below the breadline.

This number is set to rise to as high as 5.2million within the next three years as the Tory welfare cuts continue to bite. 

The two-child benefit cap alone could push another 300,000 children into poverty by 2023-24, according to the Child Poverty Action Group.

The Conservatives have long argued that work is the best route out of deprivation. 

The problem is that this is not proving to be the case.

An estimated 70% of children judged to be in poverty are in working households.

Behind every statistic is a story of a child going hungry at school or living in cramped and inadequate accommodation or unable to keep warm because there is no money for a winter coat.

The most depressing aspect is not just that the poorest have paid the highest price for a decade of austerity but that in doing so we have failed a generation of children who have so much to offer.

If you are going hungry or constantly being moved from one temporary accommodation to another then it affects your schooling.

If you a sharing a cramped room with your siblings  then it is harder to do your homework in the evening.

Poor families cannot afford things which others take for granted such as music lessons or school trips that can enrich a child’s life.

Talent and potential is going untapped because of want and deprivation.

This is why we have launched our  Give Me Five campaign  for a £5 a week increase in child benefit. 

You can sign a petition backing this call here.

As our editorial notes , if the Government is serious about levelling up it could start with levelling up the incomes of the poorest in this country in next week's Budget.

Today's agenda:

Boris Johnson to visit a research laboratory involved in tackling the coronavirus.

The House of Commons is not sitting.

On Sunday:

The Mirror is hosting a leadership and deputy leadership hustings in Dudley from 11.30am.  There are still a few tickets available here. 

What I am reading:

Excellent long read by Harry Lambert on the court of Boris Johnson

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