Child Poverty: Gamal Fahnbulleh - it's time to tackle the issues which see many children living in poverty

My son is eight months old and is one of the lucky ones. Both mum and dad are in full time employment with secure contracts and we enjoy a nice life as a family. Despite the pandemic, we can pay the bills.

But for many children across the North West, it’s a very different story.

As a special investigation for Granada Reports, I've spent the past month speaking to people across the region living at the coalface of the child poverty crisis which is spiraling out of control in the North West.

I have visited food and baby banks that report to have never been busier. I have spoken to volunteers who worry about what the future holds for our region’s kids navigating a childhood in poverty. They paint a bleak picture.

Child poverty means parents unable to afford the basics of food, clothing and shelter that many of us take for granted.

These parents struggled before the pandemic but Covid-19 has tipped things to a new level. Many have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced.

Rosie - not her real name - struggles to put food on the table despite working full time.

Rosie, not her real name, is one mum struggling to make ends meet. She has two daughters at 11 and 12 with impressive aspirations to be an author and a nurse, but some days the future is hard to focus on as they go hungry.

This is despite Rosie working full time and receiving Universal Credit from the government. It isn't enough.

The family struggles to sustain the basic needs of putting a meal on the table every evening.

It's a daily worry for Rosie and her girls, who she feels she is failing.

Melanie says her bills have gone up during lockdown, leaving her with little money for anything else.

I met Melanie, a full time carer for an autistic son and a 16 month old daughter.

She told me that her bills have become more expensive during lockdown as the family is always at home. It's been cold so she's had to keep the heating on.

Her kids are constantly hungry and there is no spare money to save.

Rob was left unable to work after an accident, forcing him to to sell his house and his car.

Rob spoke to me about his experience, now unable to work after an accident left him with neurological difficulties, something which changed his life overnight.

He was forced to sell his house, his car and saw his savings dwindle away as he became reliant on this to substitute his income. Eventually the savings ran out.

He told me the biggest impact was on his son who was in Year 6 at the time.

How do you explain to a child that you've just lost everything and life is about to change forever?

Rosie, Melanie and Rob were brave enough to share their experiences with me. Their stories were difficult to hear but brought home the very real challenges facing children in destitution everyday - it is the grinding poverty of going hungry, feeling the cold and living without.

These kids are our future, not statistics.

This week the Chancellor promised to do whatever it takes to steer the country out of the worst economic crises in three hundred years. He promised to continue with the 'levelling up' agenda.

I hope, for the sake of the next generation, that he delivers on his promise. It's time to tackle the issues that keep families living on the breadline - the stakes are too high for him to fail.