Government faces renewed calls to tackle scandalous child poverty rates in Portsmouth

GOVERNMENT ministers are facing renewed calls to tackle the scandalous rates of childhood poverty in Portsmouth.

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 160222-11)
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 160222-11)

The demand for action has come from Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, who has lobbied the chief secretary to the treasury, Simon Clarke.

Mr Morgan’s plea comes after stark figures revealed 6,091 children in the Labour politician's constituency were living in poverty.

The news was made public in July following a report by the End Child Poverty Coalition, which showed levels of child poverty in the south of the city have remained above what they were since 2014/15, with more than a third (33.2 per cent) of children still currently living in poverty.

Writing to Mr Clarke, Mr Morgan demanded to know ‘what fiscal steps’ the treasury was taking to reduce the number of children in poverty in the city.

Responding, Mr Clarke said: ‘The government is committed to tackling poverty through a long-term, sustainable approach and believes that the best way to support people out of poverty is to help them get into work. A child growing up in a home where all the adults work is four times less likely to be in absolute poverty (after housing costs) than a child growing up in a home where nobody works.

‘That is why the government is focused on supporting people by helping them get into work through the multi-billion-pounds Plan for Jobs. To continue to boost employment, wages and living standards, the government is continuing or enhancing the most successful Plan for Jobs schemes and introducing a new package of measures, taking the total DWP spend on labour market support to over £6bn over the next three years.’