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CWU slams 'Victorian' living conditions as child poverty now 'endemic'

CHRONIC child poverty has led to the country’s poorest communities resembling those of Victorian Britain, Communication Workers Union (CWU) members warned today.

The union’s Roz White told members at the CWU annual conference that, following more than a decade of Tory austerity, parts of the country look more like 1882 than 2022. 

“Only a cold-hearted monster would not want action to eradicate the endemic problem,” the Highland delegate stressed.

Members in Bournemouth unanimously backed a motion from the union’s Scotland regional committee which expressed alarm at the “increasing rates of child poverty” nationwide.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21, the issue was thought to be affecting 3.9 million young people, who amount to 27 per cent of the total, according to the Department for Work and Pensions’ own statistics. 

The motion noted that, while most children living below the breadline are in working families, “barriers to employability” related to gender, disability and ethnicity discrimination are exacerbating the problem.

Alongside affiliate groups, the CWU must campaign for urgent action to be taken “to help people secure an income, to restore dignity and respect to families and to improve the prospects of thousands of children across the country,” it demanded.

Nottingham delegate Prince Kingsley Fabrody warned that poverty “kills aspiration and kills the future,” while Coventry member Judy Griffiths highlighted a significant growth in the number of foodbanks nationwide.

“I want to see a world where there are no foodbanks because they are not needed,” she stressed.

Ms Griffiths called on Labour councils nationwide to join forces and do more to campaign against further budget cuts, warning: “Those people that don’t vote don’t see Labour as offering anything different to the Tories.”

Backing the motion, Ian Taylor from the union’s national executive council stressed the problem is “very much a trade union issue.”

He said: “To reconnect with the working class, what we should be doing is going out into our communities, being visible and doing good deeds in and outside of the union movement.

“Only then will we be able to hold our heads up. Our legacy must not to be a trade union movement that has overseen growing child poverty in the UK.”

Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt


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