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Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 76679, tabled on 17 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in child poverty rates throughout the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne Central constituency and (b) the North East; and what steps the Government is taking to reduce child poverty.

Answered on

25 November 2021

Official child poverty statistics, covering the period 2020/21 in (a) Newcastle-upon-Tyne and (b) the North East, will be published in March 2022, as part of the Department’s (a) Children In Low Income Families and (b) Households Below Average Income publications, subject to the usual checks on data quality.

This Government is committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent an effective tax cut for those on low incomes of around £2.2 billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we continue our recovery from the impacts of the Covid pandemic, which is why vulnerable households will be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. This includes £421 million for the Household Support Fund, which will help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. Newcastle Upon Tyne Council are receiving £2,898,403.85 of this funding.

We have also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy healthy foods such as milk, fruit and vitamins, and are investing over £200m a year from 2022 to extend our successful Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all Local Authorities in England.