Commenting on the latest child poverty figures, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Many teachers see on a daily basis the effect that living in poverty has on children. For those teachers and the pupils involved these are not dry statistics. The Government must not let the work that has gone on before them slip. We need to ensure that reducing child poverty remains a priority.
“Children and young people who go to school in the morning and to bed in the evening hungry and who often do not have suitable clothing or shoes are being dreadfully let down by this Government.
“No amount of effort to redefine the meaning of ‘poverty’ will make up for the services that the Coalition Government has destroyed – closure of libraries; limits on access to free school meals; all but abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance; tuition fees up; huge reduction in the number of Sure Start centres; cuts to funding for local authority support services. These all trap children and families in poverty.
“As a society we cannot afford to let significant sectors of the population live below the poverty level. Not only will it destroy the life chances of millions of children it will also incur huge social and economic costs for the taxpayer.
“There can be no more excuses. The Prime Minister himself has said that poverty is an ‘economic waste and a moral disgrace’. It is now time he did something about it.”
For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706/ 07879480061