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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andrew Woodcock

Unions call for general election now as number of key workers’ children growing up in poverty revealed


More than one in four children with care worker parents are growing up in poverty, according to new TUC analysis, as trade unions mount a mass rally calling for an immediate general election.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned that figures were heading upwards, with the 220,000 children of care workers in poverty set to rise to 300,000 by the end of this parliament if dissolution is delayed to the last possible date in 2024.

The TUC said poverty was “rampant” in families headed by parents whose jobs make them key workers.

Nearly a tenth (9.4 per cent) of children with nurses as parents – more than 70,000 young people - are living below the breadline, as are 100,000 children of teaching staff (10.8 per cent), 220,000 of those with parents in local government work (11.8 per cent) and 50,000 sons and daughters of public transport staff (25 per cent).

According to the TUC figure, one in five (19 per cent) key worker households have children living in poverty.

And Ms O’Grady said that another of year of real-terms pay cuts for millions of public sector workers will make matter worse, with nurses losing an average of £1,100 after inflation is taken into account

The findings were published as workers from across Britain prepared to assemble for a rally and lobby of MPs in central London on 2 November.

Do you want an election now?

The rally comes as a petition launched by The Independent to demand an immediate general election following the removal of two Conservative prime ministers in less than two months approaches 500,000 signatures.

Speakers including Ms O’Grady, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and frontline workers taking strike action this autumn and winter will demand action on the cost of living and an urgent general election.

MsO’Grady said: “Our amazing key workers risked their lives to get us through the pandemic. The very least they deserve is to be able to provide for their families.

“But many have been trapped in poverty and abandoned by this government. The Conservatives’ decision to hold down wages as living costs soar is causing rampant hardship. We can’t go on like this.

“We can’t be a country where bankers are allowed to help themselves to bigger bonuses, while nurses and care staff are forced to use food banks. There must be a general election now.”

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