Household Support Fund: Children’s Bed Poverty

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Thursday 21st March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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We are very alert to the issue of child poverty. Tackling child poverty is incredibly important, and we have set out a clear and sustainable approach based on evidence of the important role that parental employment plays in reducing the risk of child poverty. But it is more than that. The Question focuses on bed poverty, and it is good to mention that the household support fund can be used to ameliorate bed poverty. There are some examples that the noble Lord may know of, particularly in Bolton and Oldham.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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Despite the many different kinds of benefits that the Government provide, the evidence suggests that deep poverty remains stubbornly high, at 7% of the population. Does not this suggest that what is needed is a public health approach, whereby there is a co-ordinated strategy by central, national and local government, including business, civic society and communities to develop multi-year schemes to address the damaging social consequences of such poverty?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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The noble Baroness makes a very good point of tackling poverty not over one year but over several years. She will know that we will spend £276 billion through the welfare system in the coming year, 2024-25, including around £125 billion on people of working age and children. This is very much work in progress. Bearing in mind the point behind her question, I can say that my department, the DWP, is working ever more closely with the DHSC and other necessary departments to take a range of initiatives forward.

Charitable Sector: Food Provision

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Monday 27th March 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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Well, it is helpful to have some innovative solutions from the noble Baroness, but she will know of the huge amount of support that we have given, of which the House is very aware. There are other measures as well: for example, the Government will provide £100 million of support for charities and community organisations in England. This will be targeted towards those organisations most at risk due to the increased demand from vulnerable groups, and targeted in particular to support critical front-line services.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D’Souza (CB)
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My Lords, the Trussell Trust recently piloted a study for the APPG on ending the need for food banks on the provision of cash grants instead of food handouts: 94% of the recipients preferred cash to food and said that their finances improved as a result. The survey showed that the cash was used to buy only essential items. What are the Government doing to promote cash responses to local crises?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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I fully understand that some people prefer to use cash, and that is certainly possible. I will have to write to the noble Baroness on the spread of where cash can be used.