THE Trades Union Council has blasted the government for not doing enough to tackle child poverty in Swindon.

The TUC blamed government cuts to in-work benefit as the main reason behind what it called a region-wide rise in the number of children in working households growing up in poverty.

The Adver reported earlier this year that almost 14,000 children in Swindon are living in poverty, according to End Child Poverty Now.

TUC regional secretary of the south west Nigel Costley said: “No child should be growing up in poverty. Yet many parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids.

“In parts of the region, growing up in a poor working household is becoming the norm. That’s not right. The Conservatives’ cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost. As too has their failure to tackle insecure work and get wages rising across the economy.

“We need a government focused on helping working families, not more tax cuts for wealthy donors and hedge funds.”

The number of children in the south west growing up in poverty in working households has increased by almost 36,000 since 2010, according to TUC analysis carried out by Landman Economics.

South Swindon’s parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, Sarah Church, criticised the closure of Sure Start centres in the town.

She said: “These figures are a shameful indictment of the Conservative record locally and nationally. When people are in work yet still struggling to heat their homes and feed their families, that shows you that the system needs to change urgently.

“Work by The Children’s Society shows that over a quarter of the 23,968 children living in South Swindon constituency live in poverty.

“Poverty and ill-health go hand in hand. Depending where you live in Swindon can alter your life expectancy by a decade.

“This type of inequality has to stop. We need real change here and we need it now.”

North Swindon’s parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives, Justin Tomlinson, said: “These Labour-supporting organisations have deliberately sought to mislead with these statistics.

“The reality is absolute poverty has significantly fallen for children and working age people, though our record employment and the longest sustained period of wage rises for over a decade.

“This, combined with our introduction of the national living wage and lifting the income tax threshold to £12,000 has meant the lowest earners in full-time work are now £4,200 per year better off.

“In addition, we have increased spending on free childcare provision by nearly 50 per cent, which is vital for working families.”