QUEEN’S SPEECH: CHILD POVERTY ACTION GROUP RESPONSE
- Welcome shelving of plans to cut universal free school meals
- No plans for tackling rising child poverty, despite promise to tackle ‘burning injustice’ of poverty
- Urgent need for a coherent social justice agenda
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive:
“We welcome the commitments to strengthen rights at work and the minimum wage for over 25-year-olds, but this is a Queen's Speech conspicuous for what it doesn’t mention and suggests the Government is missing a serious and coherent social justice agenda.
“We are delighted that plans to scrap universal free school meals for infants weren’t in this speech and seem to have been shelved. CPAG has long campaigned for extending free school meals and we’re pleased that the support for them that we and others expressed during the election campaign have led to this rethink. A policy that promotes healthy eating, educational attainment and helps families with the cost of living should never have been in the firing line in the first place.
“But what worries us most is that missing from the Government’s programme is any recognition or sense of urgency around the growing child poverty crisis. Despite the Prime Minister promising to prioritise the ‘burning injustice’ of poverty when she walked in to Downing Street last summer, child poverty is still set to soar to over five million by the end of the parliament, and the Government doesn’t seem to have any coherent plan or strategy to get that number down.
“The priorities for the new Government should be helping parents with the cost of living by protecting children’s benefits from rising inflation, reversing the cuts to Universal Credit and tax credits which have reduced the rewards from work for low paid families and long term reform and investment to help families with the costs of childcare and housing."
Notes to Editors:
CPAG press contact: Imran Hussain on 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302