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Tower Hamlets MPs Jim Fitzpatrick (left) and Rushanara Ali (right) - both shocked to hear about local child poverty but not yet committed to specific local action to reduce it.
Tower Hamlets MPs Jim Fitzpatrick (left) and Rushanara Ali (right) - both shocked to hear about local child poverty but not yet committed to specific local action to reduce it.

MPs deplore child poverty – but short on action

IT IS revealed that Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK, the borough’s two MPs have expressed their shock but are short of suggestions on action they – or we – could take to improve matters.

Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar & Limehouse, has retweeted End Child Poverty’s announcement that it has released a report on the issue. The tweet calls on people to visit the charity’s poverty map and take action.

Jim has taken action: he’s added a tweet of his own pointing out that the last Labour government lifted 1 million children out of poverty. He adds that the figures showing that his constituency of Poplar & Limehouse is now one of the four highest in the UK are “shocking”.

Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, the other constituency in Tower Hamlets, has noted the child poverty figures and also published the following statement:

“New figures released today reveal that my constituency Bethnal Green and Bow has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK. It is a disgrace that over half of the children in Bethnal Green and Bow are living in poverty. The causes of child poverty are multiple and complex. They are anchored in structural inequality in our economy, high housing costs, changes in the labour market, benefit changes and a range of other factors.

“There is no single answer to reducing child poverty, but without urgent government action to reduce the cost of housing, provide additional support to those in low paid work along with providing affordable, flexible and high-quality childcare, child poverty will continue to remain stubbornly high.”

Rushanara has taken recent action to deal with one of these issues – writing to Executive Mayor John Biggs to ask him to look for a way to keep the Council’s three directly run day nurseries open and in public ownership.

Now that both Tower Hamlets MPs have acknowledged how shocking these figures are, will they take some action to improve matters? Being the worst borough in the country suggests that they should at least discuss with John Biggs setting up a Action Plan to reduce child poverty. Perhaps they could have a summit meeting about it.

For more information about End Child Poverty, go to:
http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

•Read more about it:
Biggs’s borough: child poverty hotspot
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