Diocese of Manchester

    Bishop calls for action on child poverty

    The Bishop of Manchester has today added his support for the call being made by several Anglican Bishops 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 3.5 million children in total across the country live in poverty.

    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.”

    The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham who is the lead Bishop on Welfare in the House of Lords said in a statement issued today: “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.”

    For further information visit www.endchildpoverty.org.uk

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