New statistics released this week show that child poverty is rising twice as fast as government figures suggest. Child poverty is defined as any child living in a household with an income of less than 60 per cent of the national average, after housing costs are considered.

About one in every four children from Elm Park, South Hornchurch and Rainham and Wennington live in families that are struggling below the poverty line. The overall child poverty rate for Havering is 22 per cent. In Dagenham the proportion of children living in poverty is 36.6pc.

On Tuesday 19th June Jon Cruddas MP co-signed a letter calling on the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions to end the ‘sanction first, hear appeals later’ attitude in the department. The letter was submitted by Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, and gained cross party support.

On 31st July Jon Cruddas MP co-signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions along with 30 other Labour MPs requesting a delay in the introduction of Universal Credit. Under the government’s current proposals Universal Credit is due to roll out in Dagenham and Rainham during November and December this year (2017).

Foodbanks call for direct DWP hotline, as new figures show half a million emergency food parcels distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks in six months.

  • More than 500,000 three day emergency food parcels distributed to people in crisis in first half of the year – over 188,500 to children
  • Issues with benefits account for 44 per cent of all referrals
  • Charity calls for foodbank telephone ‘hotline’ to local Job Centres to support people in crisis more quickly and efficiently, reducing negative impact on mental wellbeing

Last month a new report was published using research from Sheffield Hallam University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Oxfam. The report highlights the effects of pre-2015 welfare reforms and the anticipated impact of further reform across the United Kingdom. It is estimated that new reforms will take in the region of £13bn a year from claimants by 2020-21.

Jon Cruddas MP today welcomed the news that Atos Healthcare, the private company contracted by the Department of Work and Pensions to undertake Work Capability Assessments of people claiming disability benefits, will be exiting from its contract a year earlier than planned.

Atos have been the target of widespread criticism over the tests which are inhumane and performed by staff who are not medically qualified. The Department of Work and Pensions is now in the process of finding other providers to take over the contract.

Jon Cruddas MP: "The changes to the welfare and council tax benefts that were intorduced this month are hitting the local community hard. Many constituents have already raised their concerns through my office. I would be much obliged if you would take a few moments to fill in the survey below. Your views and opinions surrounding the 'bedroom tax' will be invaluable in the coming months when we look at the national impact."National Housing Federation statistics reveal that 1,216 households will be hit by the government’s ‘Bedroom Tax’ locally in Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park. It is predicted that these households will lose an average of £728 a year. The report is broken down by constituency and highlights that the Bedroom Tax will hit 660,000 households nationwide, two thirds of them home to someone with a disability.

 

Jon Cruddas MP: recent column in the Sunday People