Mayor Andy Burnham urges Labour to prioritise 'relieving child poverty' when 'resources allow'

18 July 2023, 18:21 | Updated: 18 July 2023, 18:34

Greater Manchester Mayor says child poverty should be top priority for Labour

By Abbie Reynolds

Policies such as reversing the two-child benefit cap "clearly should be at the front" of Keir Starmer's priorities once in government, Labour Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said.

Recognising the challenges of being in opposition, Mr Burnham told Andrew Marr: "At this point in the electoral cycle, making any commitments that are unfunded would cause issues for any Labour opposition."

This comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer u-turned on his pledge to remove the two-child benefit cap, a policy his deputy Angela Rayner branded 'inhumane'.

However, the Manchester mayor identified the importance of Labour proving to be 'different' to the current government, saying: "Oppositions also have to show what difference they will make.

"And that is why I think it would be a good thing to indicate, if you like, to sort of develop the position further, to say that as and when resources will allow this would be a priority."

Andrew Marr reflects on Labour's U-turn over child benefit cap

The Mayor went on to stress the importance of tackling child poverty: "The last Labour government had a mission around reducing child poverty in relative and absolute terms. That was one of the great achievements of that Labour government."

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"I would encourage, obviously, the shadow cabinet and Keir to keep this under review," he said before elaborating, "When there is the headroom to do something, this clearly should be at the front of the queue".