Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has challenged the Government on their lack of action to tackle child poverty, pointing out that child poverty is not mentioned once in the Levelling Up White Paper.

During the Liaison Committee hearing, Catherine highlighted that “75% of children living in poverty across the UK are in working households”, and asked the Prime Minister: “Do you believe it’s possible to level up the country without reducing the number of children living in poverty?”.

In response the Prime Minister commented “No, and we are going to keep doing everything we can”

Following the response from the Prime Minister, Catherine commented that “the numbers aren’t going in the right direction Prime Minister” highlighting that absolute child poverty “is projected to rise by 500,000 next year”.

Concluding her questions, Catherine asked “Can you tell me Prime Minister how many times child poverty is mentioned or referenced in the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper?”

With the Prime Minister responding, “I am afraid, I suppose you’re going to tell me it is not mentioned”. In reply, Catherine confirmed “It is none”.

Following the exchanged, Catherine said:

 “Child poverty figures were going in the wrong direction in the North East even before the pandemic and the current crisis, but under this Government, the number of children and young people in absolute poverty will increase by a shocking 500,000 next year.

 “The Government can’t talk about ‘levelling up’ without a strategy to address child poverty. Children and young people are having their life chances held back by ever-increasing numbers growing up in poverty, yet the Prime Minister seemed unaware before my question that the Government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper doesn’t have a single mention of it. That is truly shameful”.