By John Martin

The Children’s Society, the Church of England charity that fights for children’s rights, has expressed alarm at new figures that say child poverty in the United Kingdom is up by nearly 30 percent. It has grown by 200,000 children in the past year, according to official figures. Many believe that government paralysis in the wake of the EU referendum has added to the problem.

Department for Work and Pensions statistics reveal that 3.9 million children are now in families struggling to make ends meet; 66 percent of these families have at least one adult in work, a sign that poverty extends beyond the unemployed.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the society, blamed the situation on the government’s austerity policies.

“These figures are truly dreadful. The government was repeatedly warned of the likely consequences of reducing support for the poorest people in the country and now we can see the results,” he said.

“Austerity has bitten hard, with an additional 200,000 children living below the poverty line. More children face missing out on hot meals, sleeping in cold bedrooms, and being bullied at school. In the longer term, too many young people risk being denied a fair start, with life-changing consequences.

“The government promotes getting families back to work as the best way of tackling child poverty, but the reality is that two-thirds of children in poverty now live in working families.”

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