Frank Field MP
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The reality of child poverty

The government’s Child Poverty Commission recently reported that today’s children and young people will gain far fewer material possessions than their parents.

These findings are old hat, and I fear the real extent of child poverty across the country is far deeper than many of those in Whitehall wish to acknowledge.

On a recent visit to a school experiencing challenging circumstances in Birkenhead, the school governors told me of their deep concern over the wellbeing of their students.

Children are coming to school hungry, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, and don’t want to go home at the end of the day.

Some of them know they’re going home to a cold environment where they won’t have fun, eat a good tea or receive attention from parents who themselves struggle with severe hardship and difficulties in their daily lives.

The school is doing all it can to limit the damage and give its students a good chance of getting on in life.

Its results are improving year-on-year and attendance figures are much better than they were five years ago.

But the school are fighting an uphill struggle, and clearly there is only so much repair work a school can do to improve a child’s life chances.

We need to know why there has been this huge shift identified by the Child Poverty Commission and then do our best to counter it as early as possible in a child’s life.
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