One in five households where adults are classified as “key” workers have children living in poverty, according to new research.
The TUC said its study showed the number of children growing up in poverty in mainstream working-class households had risen from 65,000 to almost one million in the past two years.
Analysis by Landman Economics for the TUC indicated that more than two-fifths of children in working-class households in some areas of the UK are living in poverty.
The North East has the highest rate of child poverty in key worker families (41%), followed by the North West and London (both 29%) and the East of England (24%), while Scotland (8.3%) and Wales TUC said that the rate of 8.9%) is the lowest.
Another year of below-inflation pay rises for public sector workers will have a “devastating” impact on frontline staff after a “brutal decade” of pay freezes and cuts, the union organization warned.
The TUC said its research suggests that real pay for nurses will fall by £1,100 this year and for paramedics by more than £1,500.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our amazing key workers got us out of the pandemic. At least they deserve to be able to provide for their families, but the government is locking many key working families into poverty. is doing
“Ministers’ callous decision to freeze pay will cause widespread hardship and put the UK at greater risk of recession.
“After the longest wage squeeze in 200 years, we urgently need to get more money into the pockets of working families.
“This will help people get through this cost-of-living crisis and inject much-needed demand into our economy.
“It’s particularly surprising that, as key workers are being asked to tighten their belts, city executives are enjoying bumper bonuses.
“Once again ordinary working people are being forced to pick up the slack for a crisis in Downing Street.”
Sarah Ogilvy, policy director of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “These devastating figures show the growing grip of in-work poverty on households across the UK.
“It is an outrage that key workers, whose essential work keeps our hospitals, schools and supermarkets running, are being increasingly disadvantaged.
“Children are growing up in poverty as a direct result of cruel policy decisions, including draconian benefit rules like the two-child limit.
“Given the cost of living crisis, the government can no longer turn its back on low-income families and must tackle the long-term drivers of poverty in the UK.”
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Some of the children of nursing staff are living in poverty because their parents are not paid enough.
“After a decade of real pay cuts, including the government’s latest, humiliating award, nursing staff are choosing between putting food on the table and filling up their cars.
“With rising inflation to make the cost of living crisis worse, the terrible hardships nursing staff are enduring show no signs of abating.
“Ministers have not listened to their plight, and the workforce crisis is putting patients at risk, leaving them with no choice but to consider industrial action.”
A government spokesman said: “The latest figures show there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs than in 2019/20. But we recognize people are struggling with rising costs. That’s why we’re protecting millions of the most vulnerable families with a direct payment of at least £1,200, starting at £326, which has already been issued to more than seven million. Mill. Low income households.
“We are also giving working pay.
“We are saving the average employee more than £330 a year through tax cuts, raising the National Living Wage to £9.50, the biggest increase since it was introduced in 2016. And we’re allowing people on Universal Credit to live on an average of £1,000 more than they earn, while all households will receive £400 in energy payments.
“Last month we announced the biggest public sector pay rise in nearly 20 years, reflecting the significant contribution public sector workers make to our country.
“The awards are targeted at a wide range of workforces, with the lowest paid NHS workers, police officers and new teachers getting around a 9% pay rise.”
Dr Paul Gosling, president of school leaders’ union NAHT and primary headteacher in Devon, said: “At no point in my 30-year career working in schools have I seen more families being pushed into poverty than They are at the moment.
“This national crisis of livelihood is crippling many hardworking people and the government needs to take some serious and urgent steps to help people.
“School leaders know that the effects of poverty can greatly harm children’s life chances, and they are angry and frustrated that more is not being done to help our communities.”
NAHT general secretary Paul Whitman said: “Our members have described the rise in poverty in their school communities over the past year as ‘shocking and stark’.
“It is clear that the combined pressure of Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis has pushed more families and children into poverty.
“Kids who are hungry are not ready to learn.
“Teachers and school leaders have to deal with the effects of poverty even before they start teaching.
“These children are already suffering from a decade of austerity. The government needs to act urgently to save these children from becoming a completely lost generation.