Tackling child poverty is a priority for this Government. I proudly stood on a manifesto that pledged to continue efforts through the tax and benefits system to reduce poverty, including child poverty.
I firmly believe that children should grow up in an environment with no limits to their potential and I am pleased the Government’s Plan for Jobs is helping people to make the most of their talents and get into work. With unemployment falling to 4.5 per cent this month and a record numbers of job vacancies opening up, more children will grow up in working households. We know that the chances of a child growing up in poverty are substantially reduced where both parents work, which is why employment is integral to this Government’s approach to tackling poverty.
I am proud of the measures to ensure children are offered nutritious meals to help improve their health and development. Universal infant free school meals are an excellent way of ensuring children receive a nutritious meal during the day. This not only boosts educational achievement, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, but also saves hard-working families hundreds of pounds a year. Many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are entitled to receive free school meals throughout their full-time education
Our robust welfare safety net supports people on low incomes, with £111 billion invested in welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.
I am glad to see unemployment falling to 4.5 per cent and a record numbers of job vacancies opening up. These will help drive parental employment which we know substantially reduces the risks of child poverty.