Jeremy Corbyn has warned the government is “failing a whole generation of children” who are falling victim to rising homelessness and poverty.
The Labour leader said he would stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and introduce 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two to four-year-olds to help people living below the breadline.
His remarks come as the children’s commissioner for England warned there could be more than 210,000 children without a permanent home, with thousands living in converted shipping containers.
At a visit to a children’s lunch club in Swansea, Wales, he said it allowed children to “play together and understand more about each other and life together”.
“But, there is a problem,” he added.
“So many poor children in our country are not eating properly and during the summer holidays not getting access to free school meals, which they would be entitled to if they were in school.”
Mr Corbyn vowed that Labour would increase funding for schools and reduce class sizes to fewer than 30, introduce 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two to four-year-olds and halt the closures of Sure Start centres.
He also said that ending the public sector pay cap and introducing a real living wage of at least £10 an hour will boost household income.
Conservative Party deputy chairman, Paul Scully, however, defended the government’s record on fighting unemployment, and warned 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.”