In a letter sent this week, National Education Union joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney called on the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer to adopt the union’s policy proposals to tackle child poverty. These include:
- Expanding the Free School Meal scheme to include every child from a household in receipt of Universal Credit, or equivalent benefits.
- Eradicate holiday hunger by extending FSM provision of at least £15 per child per week during all school holidays.
- Reform all school uniform policies to ensure uniform options are affordable for families in the local community.
- Provide free household internet access for children and young people in households on Universal Credit.
- Establish a new, dedicated technology budget for all schools to combat the digital divide.
Shreeve: Third of Island children living in poverty
Commenting on the letter and the End Child Poverty data, Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary of the National Education Union said:
“The Isle of Wight remains troubling with the latest coalition data showing 7,311 Island children (33.2%) living in poverty after housing costs in 2018/19.”
Poverty denies children opportunity to thrive and live healthy lives
He went on to say,
“It’s not right that poverty can deny children the opportunity to thrive, live healthy lives, do well at school and realise their ambitions for the future. That is why the NEU has written to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, urging them to tackle the blight of child poverty by taking action on the NEU’s five demands to secure better life chances for the millions of children trapped in poverty.
“With a third of Island children living in poverty, the extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the overwhelming majority of which were working households before the pandemic is substantial and is likely to sweep them and their children further into danger.”
Shreeve: Level up and take action
He finished by saying,
“We have therefore written to our local MP, Bob Seely in the expectation that the Government is serious about ‘levelling up’ and will take action urgently.”