Lisa Nandy MP: ​we must take action to tackle poverty

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​Poverty wastes potential, it harms our country’s success and prosperity and damages people’s health and wellbeing.

​Across Britain there are now more than four million children living in poverty, an increase of 600,000 since the Government came to power and more than pensioners trapped in poverty, a rise of over 400,000.

There are also around eight million adults of working age now living in poverty.

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Shocking recent figures from the Department of Work and Pensions reveal that nearly a quarter of children in Wigan live in poverty, a figure above the national average. 22.9% of children in Wigan (14,096 kids) were living in relative poverty in the year to March 2023, the highest level since comparable records began.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Poverty hurts children, it harms their health and self-esteem and robs them of future opportunities.

Poverty in later life is also a serious but often overlooked issue. Pensioner poverty is now at its highest level since 2007-08, with a staggering 18% of older people living in deep poverty.

I am regularly contacted by pensioners in Wigan who struggle to pay rising energy and food bills and are forced into making dangerous cutbacks.

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The unacceptable numbers of people trapped in poverty is a devastating consequence of 14 years of Tory misery. The responsibility lies firmly at the feet of a failed government that has crashed the economy and unleashed a cost-of-living crisis, pushing families into poverty right across the country.

Labour would take action to tackle poverty wherever it exists.

Regarding child poverty, I support Labour’s plans to create a cross-government taskforce aimed at breaking down the barriers to opportunity for every child, with child poverty reduction specialists at the heart of this work. On pensioner poverty, it is concerning that over a million pensioners who are entitled to claim extra support via Pension Credit are currently not receiving it.

In Wigan borough alone it is estimated that there is £8.8m in unclaimed Pension Credit. Receipt of guaranteed Pension Credit also opens up other support, such as Council Tax discount, free TV licences and support with energy cost so the value of claiming it can really add up.

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Locally, Wigan Council’s Here for You campaign ( is already doing excellent work in ensuring that residents eligible for benefits such as Pension Credit receive them. But the Government must do more to raise awareness and take up of this important benefit nationally.

Regarding poverty among working age people, I support reforms to ensure that those who can work get the support and help that they need to do so. This will require tackling the root causes of economic inactivity by reducing NHS waiting lists, reforming social security, making work pay and supporting people into good jobs across every part of the country. It should also include plans to transform the back-to-work help that is available by personalising employment support.

It is totally unacceptable that so many people are living in poverty in modern Britain. Labour will focus on tackling the root causes of poverty and building a society where no one is held back by disadvantage or lack of opportunity.

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