THE Green Party candidate for Carlisle has said that “poverty is a political choice” after a report highlighted the level of poverty. 

Gavin Hawkton has highlighted the recent poverty report released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, revealing that one in five people in the UK were living in poverty in 2021/22.

Six million of the poorest people in the UK would need to more than double their income to escape poverty, according to the report, which warns this is evidence of a “social failure at scale”.

Mr Hawkton argued that report should serve as a wakeup call to politicians: “The latest report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a stark reminder of the grim reality of poverty in the UK," he said.

"It reveals how successive governments over the last twenty years have allowed poverty to grow and inequality to widen all while the super-rich have seen their incomes soar”.

Separate figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 3,451 children in Carlisle were living in 'relative poverty' in the year ending April 2022.

This meant that 18.4 per cent of children in the area were in a family whose income was below 60 per cent of average household income, and claimed child benefit and at least one other household benefit.

Of these children, 2,316 were in 'absolute poverty' as their family's income was lower than 60 per cent of the median income established in 2010-2011 – accounting for more than 12 per cent of kids in the area.

Overall, it was up from 16.3 per cent of children who were living in poverty in 2020-21 and up from 14.9 per cent seen in 2014-15 when comparable records began.

“We live in a time when children are growing up in deep poverty with malnutrition rising and Victorian era diseases like rickets and scurvy making a comeback," Mr Hawkton added.

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"It doesn’t need to be this way. With the right political will there are measures that can be done to begin to ease the appalling levels of poverty now in the UK”.

The Green Party has stated that it would increase Universal Credit by £40 a week and abolish the 'two-child benefit cap'.

A wealth tax on the super-rich, alongside tax reforms such as changes to Capital Gains Tax and abolishing ‘non dom status’ could pay for measures to alleviate poverty, the party added.