Easington MP Grahame Morris has condemned the latest child poverty figures, that has shown a big increase in the North East.
Mr Morris highlighted local figures for the Easington constituency showing that one in four children live in poverty, with half residing in working households.
Grahame Morris MP, commenting on the figures, said:
“Child poverty is a blight on our society. It is the denial of life opportunities, which entrenches disadvantage and widens inequality. We should be outraged that people working day in, day out, cannot earn enough to lift their family out of poverty.
Child poverty is a political choice. Unless the government change course, they will repeat the same failed policies of the last decade. These figures are shameful, and the government must set out a clear strategy to reduce and eradicate child poverty.”
CHILDREN CUT ADRIFT: NORTH EAST SEES BIGGEST INCREASE IN CHILD POVERTY
Even before the devastating impact of Covid-19 on household incomes, almost a quarter of children (23%) in the North East were living in poverty – and the region has seen the most dramatic rise in the proportion of children below the breadline.
The End Child Poverty coalition with Loughborough University has published an analysis of new data from the government that tracks four years of child poverty across Britain before housing costs are taken into account (2014/15-2018/19). The report highlights those parts of the country where children are most likely to have been swept into poverty since 2014.
The North East of England has seen the starkest increase in the country with numbers rising by 6.5 percentage points over the past four years alone, leaving families in the region ill equipped to cope with the impact of the pandemic
The worst hit area in the region is Middlesbrough where over a third (36%) of children are living in poverty, before housing costs are taken into account. That’s closely followed by Newcastle (28%), South Tyneside (26%), Hartlepool (26%) and Gateshead (21%).
The End Child Poverty coalition is calling on the Government to take seriously the four year rise in child poverty – predominantly in working families – and to commit to an ambitious and comprehensive strategy to end child poverty in the UK as it plans the nation’s recovery from Coronavirus, which campaigners fear will only have deepened child poverty and drawn more families below the poverty line.
Recent ONS analysis, carried out 17-27 April 2020, shows just under 1 in 4 adults (23%) said the coronavirus was affecting their household finances. The most common impact in this group was reduced income (70%), and nearly half saying they had needed to use savings or borrow to cover living costs.
Campaigners are fearful that the added impact of Covid-19 on household budgets could push struggling families over the edge and are urging the Government to immediately increase the amount of money in families’ pockets. The coalition is calling on the Government to set out an ambitious strategy to reverse the increases and make ending child poverty a priority for the nation’s future economic recovery.
The report’s analysis shows how unequal the country is with children in some parts six times more likely to be growing up in poverty than in less deprived areas. While child poverty is deteriorating across better and worse off areas of the country proportionately, those places starting off with a high rate see more additional children pulled into poverty.
Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “We may all be experiencing the storm of Coronavirus together, but we are not all in the same boat.
“Children in the North East are some of the most exposed to the devastating economic consequences of this crisis and are at severe risk of being swept deeper into poverty. Families who were already struggling to keep their heads above water are now living in fear that they can’t afford to keep their children and babies warm and well fed.
“That’s why we are asking the government to strengthen the social security system which is there to hold us steady during tough times, by immediately increasing household income for struggling families. Ending child poverty must be at the heart our plan for economic recovery, so that when this crisis is over all children can enjoy a safe and happy life, thrive at school and have opportunities for the future.”