"We need to ask what kind of a Christmas those children are going to have...It is horrendous..."
New figures released today by the Government* show thousands of Salford children living in 'out-of-work benefit households', where at least one parent or guardian is claiming one of six benefits, including Income Support and Universal Credit**
The statistics for Salford show a total of 10,240 children aged under 15 living in such households (11,430 if under 18s are included), with over a third of those children, 3,840, aged under five. They are living in a total of 5,950 out-of-work benefit households.
The figures for Salford are the third highest in Greater Manchester. The second highest is Bolton with 11,000 under 15s living in out-of-work benefit households, while Manchester is top with a staggering 25,670 under 15s living in such conditions.
Nationally, 1.9million children are living in out-of-work benefit households, although the Government claims that this has decreased by 3.8% since the preceding year.
However, more children are now living in households that aren't claiming benefits but where parents and guardians are on poverty wages. In Salford, child poverty affects over 25% of all youngsters (see here).
"What an absolute disgrace" says Alec McFadden, manager of the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre "Gordon Brown and the Low Pay Unit were talking about the end of child poverty by 2020...And when the war ended in 1945 they talked about creating 'a land fit for heroes'...but this Government is dragging us back to the middle ages.
"The poverty we are dealing with every day is staggering" he explains "We need everyone off benefits and into proper jobs with a living wage of around £10 an hour. Parents of children deserve a better future and the only way that's going to happen, for me, is a very early General Election for this Government to be sacked and replaced with a socialist Government.
"We're less than a month from Christmas and we need to ask what kind of a Christmas those children are going to have" he adds "It is horrendous."
* Although these are newly published figures they relate to May 2016
** The out-of-work benefits included in these figures are Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance, Pension Credit or Universal Credit...