I was invited to speak to BBC Radio Kent this morning on the growing child poverty rates in Thanet.
Child poverty in Thanet is growing unchecked. Since 2014 poverty has grown from 28% to 34% of all children in Thanet who are living below the breadline. The average across the country is 24% – which is bad enough.
Child poverty is a scourge and is a political choice, not inevitability. Children who are brought up in poverty run real risks of suffering from malnourishment, of contracting diabetes and becoming obese. This also compromises their learning opportunities, which damages their education and their future employment prospects. Do we really want the next generation to be undernourished and underfed?
We have a poor labour market in Thanet compared to the rest of the South East. Vital economic growth is slow. Some parents have to depend on benefits, which in real terms are the lowest in 50 years. And as we know, following hard on the heels of austerity, the cost of living crisis is driving many more onto the breadline. Many local jobs are relatively low paid and seasonal or insecure.
What was interesting to me this morning, is that not one single Conservative representative from either Thanet District Council or either of our local MPs could be found to comment on this very sorry state of affairs. Ask yourself, why is this?
Remember child poverty isn’t an inevitability it’s a political choice. It need not be this way.
Data from the End Child Poverty Coalition
Child image by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash