Jeremy Corbyn has warned that the Government is “failing a whole generation of children” who are falling victim to rising homelessness and poverty.
The Labour leader’s remarks come after a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England estimated there could be more than 210,000 youngsters without a permanent home in England, with thousands living in dangerous converted shipping containers.
At a visit to a children’s lunch club in an undisclosed location in Wales on Friday, Mr Corbyn will say that Labour would “take radical action” to improve the situation.
According to Mr Corbyn, stopping the roll-out of Universal Credit and introducing 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two- to four-year-olds will help people in poverty.
Mr Corbyn said: “Working-class children are still being held back while their wealthy peers get ahead.
“The next Labour government will take radical action to unlock the potential of every child, not just a lucky few.
“The Tories are failing a whole generation of children. A child growing up in a shipping container or a B&B, or going to school hungry, cannot be expected to reach their full potential.
“The measure of our society is how we treat our most vulnerable. And who could be more vulnerable than a homeless child?
“We have a moral responsibility to end the scandal of child poverty and homelessness.”
Mr Corbyn will say that Labour will provide free school meals for all primary school children and build a million “genuinely affordable homes” to lift people out of homelessness.
He will also say that his party will introduce 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two- to four-year-olds and halt the closures of Sure Start centres.
In addition, he will pledge to increase funding for schools and to reduce class sizes to fewer than 30.
Mr Corbyn will also say that ending the public sector pay cap and introducing a real living wage of at least £10 an hour will boost household income, and that stopping the roll-out of Universal Credit will prevent people from being pushed into poverty.
Conservative Party deputy chairman Paul Scully, however, defended the Government’s record on fighting unemployment, and warned that Labour would only make things worse.
Mr Scully said: “Jeremy Corbyn would wreck the economy, which would drive up poverty and unemployment.
“Work is the best route out of poverty. It’s the Conservatives who have brought down unemployment to its lowest levels since the 1970s, meaning more children than ever before living in a working home.
“Labour would tax more, borrow more and waste more, and, just like last time, it’s working people who would pay the price.”