In Brief

Child poverty ‘would rise to 60-year high under Tories’

Resolution Foundation says cuts would see problem soar under Johnson

Child poverty could rise to a record 60-year high under a Conservative government, according to the Resolution Foundation.

After studying the Tory party’s manifesto, which retains coalition benefit cuts, the thinktank predicted a rise in the number of children living in relative poverty under a Boris Johnson government to 34.5% in 2023-24 up from 29.6% in 2017-18.

The organisation said the expected rise was largely because of the impact of the two-child limit on support for families, which is mostly still to take effect.

Labour's plans would reduce child poverty to around 30.2% in 2023-4, the study found, while that figure under the Lib Dems would be 29.7% in 2023-4.

After studying the main parties’ manifestos, Laura Gardiner, the research director at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Against the backdrop of major cuts, the parties’ manifestos do offer big choices on social security.

“Under the Conservatives little is set to change, and child poverty risks reaching a record high in the coming years. Labour and Liberal Democrat pledges to spend £9bn more would mean child poverty being over 500,000 lower than under Conservative plans.”

There is a significant gap in what the two main parties propose to put into public spending, with Labour committing 28 times as much as the Conservatives.

The Tories have set aside an extra £2.9bn a year for more nurses, GP appointments and free childcare, while the Labour manifesto has earmarked an extra £83bn a year for free broadband, scrapping university fees, reversing benefit cuts and extra funding for the NHS and social care.

A Conservative spokesman said: “We know we must continue to make every effort on [child poverty] and our manifesto sets out how we will use the tax and benefits system to do this. The prime minister has committed to giving every child in the country the opportunities to make the most of their talents.”

The news comes after a Tory MP sparked outrage by saying he “can't do anything” about child poverty in his area. Confronted with the fact that almost half of children in his area are living in poverty, he told the BBC: “I can't personally do anything about it.”

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