Bishop Paul speak to HoL in the Children and Social Work Bill
Bishop Paul calls for action on Child Poverty
Bishop Paul calls for action on Child Poverty

The Rt Revd Paul Butler is among several Anglican bishops calling for further action on child poverty in response to a report published by the End Child Poverty coalition. The report finds that nearly half of all children in some areas are living in poverty. Over 3 and a half million children in total across the country live in poverty.

Bishop Paul said: “This report is deeply concerning. Rising living costs are already making it incredibly difficult for many families and will only be exacerbated by the four-year freeze on most children’s benefits. This is on top of the reduction in the benefit cap, which came into effect yesterday. Behind these poverty figures are the stories of individual families who are unable to meet even the basic essentials of life. Child poverty adversely impacts on children’s health and education, preventing them from reaching their God-given potential in later life. Particularly worrying is the fact that the majority of parents of children in poverty are in work. As a society, we owe these children more.

“Reports like this are important in holding us all to account. This was why I argued to keep the existing child poverty measures as part of the Welfare Reform & Work Act and welcomed the government’s decision to retain statutory income-based measures. In light of these figures and recent inflation forecasts, I encourage the Government to end the freeze on children’s benefits and consider reversing the cuts to in-work benefits being introduced under Universal Credit.”

In separate releases to coincide with this statement the following Bishops comment: 

[MANCHESTER]

Commenting on the figures, the Right Reverend David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, said: “In the constituency of Manchester Central, child poverty is at 44.8%. In areas such as this, we are no longer simply contending with a crisis of material provision or social relations. It becomes a crisis of collective imagination as well, whereby poverty is normalised for millions of children.”

[LONDON]

The Right Reverend Adrian Newman, the Bishop of Stepney, whose area includes 3 of the 7 local authorities with the highest rates of child poverty (including the highest, Tower Hamlets), added: “When poverty becomes so prevalent in a community, we are failing to recognise children as created in the image of God. By seeking to eradicate child poverty in our communities we affirm to each child the value that God places on their life.”

Notes

[1] The Church of England is a member of End Child Poverty, a coalition of more than 100 organisations campaigning to end child poverty in the UK.

[2] End Child Poverty released the ‘Child Poverty map of the UK’ report on the 8th November. A copy of the full report is available on their website: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2016/

[3] The parliamentary constituency with the highest child poverty rate (47.3%) is Ladywood, Birmingham, followed by Manchester Central (44.8%). The local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty are: Tower Hamlets (43.5%), Manchester (40.0%), Westminster (37.7%), Islington (37.7%), Newham (37.5%), Birmingham (37.4%), Hackney (37.1%), Middlesbrough (37.0%), Nottingham (37.0%), and Southwark (36.7%).

[4] The Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 introduced a four-year freeze on Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits, starting from April 2016. In-work families in children will also experience a significant reduction in their incomes as a result of a planned reduction in the Work Allowances within Universal Credit.