Sadiq Khan: Our capital is a tale of two cities, with child poverty on the rise

If you live outside London, you’d be forgiven for thinking that our city’s streets are paved with gold.

Many of those talking about our capital give the impression that everyone is well off and no-one is struggling to make ends meet.

This misleading picture – painted by those who sometimes have a deliberate anti-London agenda – couldn’t be further from the truth.

As someone who grew-up on a council estate, I know only too well how London can be a tale of two cities – the London enjoyed by the rich, and the London experienced by the rest.

Are you a parent struggling with poverty? Email [email protected]

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Some areas of London have among the highest rates of child poverty in the UK. In an area like Poplar and Limehouse there are thousands of children growing up in poverty in the shadow of the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf.

Even Islington, which is often wrongly seen as being extremely privileged, has levels of child poverty that are well above the national average.

Across the whole of London four in ten children are growing-up in poverty and tens of thousands of parents are forced to rely on foodbanks.

I want to praise the Mirror for shining a light on this issue and for exposing the false impression that everyone in London is well off.

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Pitting different parts of the UK against one another – and suggesting that some cities are more deserving than others – will never be the way to support our poorest communities or tackle the gaps between regions.

A child living in poverty in London is just as deserving of support as a child living in poverty in the north of England, or in Scotland or Wales for that matter.

All of these children need to be helped, not made pawns in a political game.

As the Mayor of London, I’m doing everything in my power to tackle child poverty in London.

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To bring down the cost of living and ease pressures on family budgets, I've frozen transport fares and introduced ‘the Hopper’ which lets Londoners take as many buses as they want within an hour.

I’m a champion for getting more people paid the London Living Wage, I’ve set-up a new energy company to keep monthly bills as low as possible and I’m delivering record numbers of genuinely affordable homes, including starting more council homes than in any year since 1984.

I’ve also partnered with the Child Poverty Action Group to help parents in schools get access to the benefits they are entitled to.

However, with the Government pushing ahead with its cuts the situation is only going to get worse.

Our research shows that 75,000 more of London’s children will be driven into poverty by 2022 as a result of the Government’s welfare reforms.

As a society we must stand up and put a stop to this.

But the only way we will succeed is if we reject the politics of divide and rule, and instead come together to demand investment in our young people’s futures, regardless of whether they live in the north or the south, in a town or a city, or in Liverpool or London.

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