Child Poverty Bill

Charles raises concerns about childhood obesity and demands straight answer.

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con) rose—


Yvette Cooper
: The hon. Gentleman is keen to intervene from the Back Benches. I will give way to him in the hope that he will go further than his Front Benchers are prepared to and say that he is ready to support the £5 billion investment to help people back into work today.


Mr. Walker
: I just want to get back to serious politics for a moment, if the Secretary of State will allow me. She claims to care about the welfare of children, so why is it that over the past 10 years child obesity rates have rocketed under her Government?


Yvette Cooper
: I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that there is nothing more serious than helping parents back into work right now or tackling the rising unemployment that we have seen in every country in the world—


Mr. Walker
: Answer the question.


Yvette Cooper
: The hon. Gentleman might not think that is serious—he might not think the need to tackle child poverty is serious—but he should be ashamed of his party’s refusal to support— [ Interruption. ]


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord)
: Order. This is a very serious matter.


Mr. Walker
: And it is a disgraceful performance—


Mr. Deputy Speaker
: Order. The hon. Gentleman asked a question.


Mr. Walker
: And I have not had an answer—


Mr. Deputy Speaker
: Order. The hon. Gentleman may not like the answer he gets, but he must not keep chuntering from a sedentary position. Otherwise, he ought perhaps to be asked to leave the debate if he cannot control himself. It does not help the debate at all.


Yvette Cooper
: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I agree with the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker) that we need to do more to support children who have health problems, including obesity, but we also have to help those children out of poverty. If his party will not face up to the fact that parents who lose their jobs are far more likely still to be in poverty in years to come if they do not get help to get back into work now, he is blind to the serious problems of child poverty across this country.


Mr. Redwood
: Why can the Secretary of State not answer my question on income differentials, the shadow Secretary of State’s question on child poverty, and the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker) on obesity? Why does she always have to play crude and idiotic politics instead of dealing with the things that really matter to our constituents?


Yvette Cooper
: Not only is that not a question, but the right hon. Gentleman still has not said whether his party is prepared to support the action and investment to do something about child poverty. We have seen—the figures show this—that 500,000 children have been lifted out of poverty as a result of the action that the Government have taken. If we had simply followed the policies of the previous Government—his Government—child poverty would be 2.1 million higher than it is today.

| Hansard