Labour’s Shadow Child Poverty chief was given a standing ovation after slamming the Prime Minister for telling parents who are ‘slogging their guts out on minimum wage to work harder’
Wes Streeting has blasted Boris Johnson for “punching down, not levelling up” struggling families.
In a powerful speech at Labour Conference in Brighton, the Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty claimed the Tories had no ambitions to tackle child poverty.
Mr Streeting reflected on his own childhood saying he had thought he was “unlucky” as a youngster because he grew up in poverty on a council estate.
But he insisted that “it’s not talent or potential that’s unevenly distributed in our society, it’s opportunity”.
Speaking on day four of conference, Mr Streeting said: “In just a matter of days Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will take £20 a week out of the pockets of hard-pressed families with a cut to Universal Credit that will plunge 200,000 kids into poverty.
“This isn’t a government that’s ‘levelling up’, it’s punching down on struggling mums and dads and their kids.
“And Boris Johnson has the audacity to tell parents slogging their guts out on minimum wage to work harder.
“This coming from a man who hasn’t done a single day of hard work in his life.”
New policy proposals included aiming to give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, get swimming lessons, learn how to ride a bike and even visit museums and galleries.
Mr Streeting added: “Because if there’s one thing – over and above everything else – that makes the most difference to tackling poverty in our society, it’s a great state education.
“It gave a boy from a council estate in Stepney the chance to become the first person in his family to graduate from university to stand here on this platform today.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth used his speech to tell the Tories: “Don’t lecture us about levelling up when you’ve spent ten years smashing down.”
Mr Ashworth went on to say the social care system is “broken”, telling the Labour conference “the frail and confused (are) trapped in hospital beds with nowhere to go.”
He added: “Place of birth should not determine length of life and to change that, we start with children.
“A child born into poverty is too often condemned to a life of ill health.
“More likely to be admitted to hospital, more likely to leave school obese, more likely to suffer mental ill health.”