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by Our Industrial Reporter @TrinderMatt
A FIFTH of key worker households have children living in poverty and the number is likely to grow due to the cost-of-living crisis and poverty pay, the TUC has warned.
Shocking new research conducted for the union confederation shows that there are 989,000 destitute young people in essential worker homes, with the figure having increased by 65,000 since 2020.
The study, which used the government definition of key workers, forecasts that the total will rise again in 2023 to 1.1 million unless Tory ministers act.
Alarmingly, the analysis, conducted by research and consultancy firm Landman Economics, reveals regional disparities, with some parts of Britain recording more than two-fifths of young people in key worker households living in poverty.
The children of NHS staff, firefighters and childcare workers in north-east England have the highest rate of child poverty, a staggering 41 per cent, followed by the north-west and London with 29 per cent.
Wales, governed by left-wing Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford, has a much lower rate of 8.9 per cent, just ahead of Scotland on 8.3 per cent.
A decision by Westminster to impose yet another year of real-terms pay cuts on public-sector workers will exacerbate the problem, the TUC predicted, after the consumer prices index rate of inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.4 per cent last month.
The move will have a “devastating impact on front-line workers after a brutal decade of pay freezes and cuts,” warned the union confederation, which noted that working-class people are being asked to tighten their belts while the total value of bonuses given out in the City of London has skyrocketed by nearly 29 per cent.
Hitting out at “heartless” ministers, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our amazing key workers got us through the pandemic — the very least they deserve is to be able to provide for their families.
“Once again, ordinary working people are being forced to carry the can for a crisis made in Downing Street.”
Ms O’Grady, who is due to step down at the end of the year, reiterated her call for immediate rises in the national minimum wage and universal credit as well as a fair wage boost for essential workers.
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