Child poverty is becoming the ‘new normal’ in parts of Britain as fastest rises in poverty hit the poorest areas.
It is highest in big cities, particularly London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester,
The UK’s leading child poverty coalition is calling for the major Parties to outline ambitious child poverty-reduction strategies as new data published today shows that child poverty is becoming the norm in some parts of Britain, with more than 50% of children living trapped in poverty in some constituencies.
The data, published by the End Child Poverty coalition, highlights how worrying levels of child poverty vary across Britain and shows that poverty is on the rise – and rising fastestin places where it is already highest.
Researchers from Loughborough University estimated the numbers of children locked in poverty in each constituency, ward and local authority area across Britain, showing that child poverty is rising particularly rapidly in parts of major cities, especially London, Birmingham and Manchester, suggesting that inequality between areas is growing.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said:
‘We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it. We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs. And we know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.’
‘Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances. Policymakers can no longer deny the depth of the problem or abandon entire areas to rising poverty. The Government must respond with a credible child poverty-reduction strategy.
‘The Government’s own data shows that child poverty in the UK has been rising steadily in recent years. This just isn’t right.’
‘Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults. We urgently need Government to set a course of action that will free our children from the grip of poverty.’
In response to the release of local child poverty figures by End Child Poverty, Graham Whitham, Director of Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) said:
“We know that Greater Manchester is home to some of the highest rates of poverty in the country. There is a huge appetite locally to address poverty and increasingly stakeholders from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are coming together to take action.
However, local efforts are hampered by cuts to the welfare system and public services. Central government must re-introduce a meaningful anti-poverty strategy, with reversals to cuts in benefits and reforms to Universal Credit central to that strategy.
Child poverty is a scar on the nation and is damaging the lives on children and young people across Greater Manchester. It is time for action.”