In the wake of Rishi Sunak’s spring statement which did little to support the poorest Brits, leading think-tanks revealed that around 1.3million people will be pushed into absolute poverty.
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A Tory minister today suggested poverty statistics released in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s spring statement that did little to help struggling families, are “somewhat misleading”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he didn’t want to get Brits “lost in numbers” but said poverty is divided into both absolute and relative.
Poverty has been measured in absolute and relative terms to give official a full and accurate picture of how much families have to live on.
This does not rule out the fact that around 1.3million Brits will be pushed into absolute poverty, including 500,000 children, as the Chancellor refused to raise benefits – which will rise at less than half inflation.
On top of this, campaigners have warned the Government’s decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week will push 400,000 children back into poverty.
Even before the pandemic, around 4 million children were living in poverty across the UK, the charity Action for Children has noted.
The north east of England has seen the most dramatic rise in child poverty in the past five years, the charity says.
Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, Mr Shapps said: “I don’t want to sort of get us lost in numbers here, but poverty is divided into both absolute and relative (poverty), and sometimes the way it’s presented can be somewhat misleading to say the least.
“I do not mean to in any way, shape or form underplay it because you don’t have to be an expert – you just look at the cost of living, as you mentioned, the increase in inflation… it’s very substantial. And that’s why the Chancellor’s already come forward with £22 billion.”
Imran Hussain, Director of Policy, Action for Children has said: “Poverty destroys life chances. You cannot level up the country with millions of children in poverty so it’s vital the Government brings forward a credible plan to reduce poverty.”
Mr Sunak’s £11bn in cuts to National Insurance and fuel duty will mostly benefit people in work.
Even with a 1p cut in income tax from 2024, seven out of eight workers will still be paying more tax overall by 2025, the analysis from the Resolution Foundation think-tank found.
Natalie from Hampshire, a single mum to two children told the Mirror she is worried about rising living costs and struggles to sleep at night.
“As a single mum, money is tight. I don’t have a partner or anyone else to help and so the responsibility is completely on me. It can feel overwhelming and scary.”
“Some months are very hard and, to be honest, I don’t know how I will manage with £70 less each month. The other day I turned on the kettle and could see my smart meter clocking the energy used so turned it off.”
Mr Shapps later admitted the Government might need to bolster support to help struggling families battle the cost-of-living crisis, as he said, “I don’t rule out the fact that we may need to do more.”
Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “I feel angry at the scale of the crisis people in this country are facing and the lack of response from Government in the spring statement – and promises on announcements in the future just won’t cut it.
“We have set out that windfall tax that would give households a huge amount of help, relative to what the Government are doing – up to £600 for households who are most affected by energy prices.”