The independent Think Tank, Resolution Foundation has conducted a survey into the increase in poverty due to Covid. From the Summer of 2020 families with children who were in the lowest income bracket were reporting an increase in spending.

Chris Bailie:Workers Party,Oldpark DEA said“the reason for the increase in poverty results from a variety of factors, having children at home has meant families have spent more on food and energy in addition to this families have also found it difficult to find ways to entertain and distract children when many outdoor activities have been closed. Families also reported that home schooling was proving particularly expensive particularly for families who have had the extra expense of purchasing a laptop or tablet and arranging broadband access.

“Unsurprisingly the cost of feeding a family on a low income has increased during the pandemic. Families have experienced difficulties in accessing shops that have promotional offers or problems procuring specific items. In trying to avoid infection many families have been forced into using more expensive shops that are closer to home or where they can get delivery. “In September more than half of adults who reported having less than £1,000 in savings have reported having to dip into these savings in order to keep things afloat and more worryingly have reported having to borrow at a much larger extent during the pandemic than they would have post Covid to cover their everyday living costs.

“These pressures from Covid come after many years of austerity, of poor living conditions and as the report highlights no increase in income for the lowest income households for several years. With the new restrictions in place families now face the same issues once again.

“As child poverty continues to rise the Workers’ Party is calling on the government to urgently increase the UC levels for families, ensure that workers are provided with a living wage, that letting agents and landlords are not charging above the UC limit, workers are provided with a working from home allowance to cover additional heat and electric costs and that all children have what they need in order to participate fully in home schooling as well as ensuring families have access to school meal vouchers.”