Smearing benefit claimants as "scroungers" harms fight against poverty

January is not just a time for sober reflection; it is also a time for clarity and determination, renewal and ambition. Though many resolutions fall by the wayside, others are worth keeping. I believe that in 2018 there should be a new resolve to tackle child poverty and begin to fulfil more of our nation’s potential.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies forecasts that by 2022 there will be 5.2 million children living in poverty – nine children in every class of 30. Some 128,000 children are homeless, and a further 1.6 million are living in over-crowded, temporary, and run-down housing. These statistics are frightening and the reason for them is clear. Despite being an essential institution, the welfare state is too often seen as an unwanted burden.

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