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Prime Minister backs regional daily’s poverty campaign

Prime Minister David Cameron has lent his backing to a regional daily’s campaign to tackle the problem of child poverty.

The Manchester Evening News launched a campaign last month after revealing that almost 40,000 children across 20,000 households were living in poverty.

Speaking to the paper at the start of the Conservative Party conference, Mr Cameron said his government was committed to tackling the problems which have left thousands of children going hungry in Manchester.

The paper’s campaign now has cross-party support after Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged his support earlier this month, saying it would be a top priority for his party if they won power.

Said Mr Cameron: “I think there does need to be action to tackle poverty, in particular child poverty. The problem over the last decade is action to tackle poverty was simply using the tax credit system to move people either one side or the other side of the poverty line and that wasn’t sustainable.

“The sustainable way to tackle poverty is to tackle the causes of poverty which are, chiefly, worklessness and unemployment, but also problems with substance abuse, poor education opportunities, poor training opportunities, poor housing. I think what this government is focused on is those causes of poverty.”

But the regional daily highlighted that the Prime Minister’s support came on the same day that Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to cut a further £10bn from the welfare budget, including limiting the number of children in a family that should be supported on benefits.

At the conference in Birmingham, Mr Osborne also suggested housing benefit for the under-25s could be reduced.

The MEN’s campaign revealed that 42pc of the city’s children are living below the hunger line and thousands are in households surviving on less than £100 a week.