North East needs help after new figures show child poverty is rising

THE North East has seen the biggest rise in child poverty levels in the whole of the UK, figures in a new report reveal.

Child poverty in the North East
Child poverty in the North East

THE North East has seen the biggest rise in child poverty levels in the whole of the UK, figures in a new report reveal.

Newcastle, South Tyneside, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool are listed as among the top 20 most deprived places in the country for children to live.

They are also the only four local authority areas in the top 20 to have seen an increase in poverty figures in the last 12 months.

A report released by End Child Poverty, a coalition of 100 charities fighting to eradicate poor conditions for children, shows that Newcastle’s child poverty figures rose from 31% to 33% in 2012.

This compares to Tower Hamlets in London, which while remaining the local authority area with the most number of children in poverty, has seen numbers decline from 52% to 42% in the same period.

The North East also overtook inner city London in terms of the rate of children entering poverty for the first time.

The report describes the region as the only area to be “deteriorating” as other areas with traditionally high concentrations of poverty had seen improvements since 2011. The report said: “There are considerably fewer children in inner London boroughs in out-of-work families than a year ago. On the other hand, in the North East, the situation has deteriorated.”

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The report which breaks down poverty levels to ward level, shows Walker in Newcastle has 56% of its children in need and in Felling, Gateshead, the figure is 49%.

Campaigners from the charity, which aims to stamp out child poverty in the UK by the year 2020, have said the North East needs particular attention to reverse its declining situation.

Enver Solomon, chair of the campaign, said: “Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.

“The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long-term poverty and disadvantage.”

The campaign is now urging local authorities to prioritise low income families in decisions regarding welfare spending and to protect them from the bedroom tax.

Earlier this month Newcastle City councillors agreed to give issues surrounding child poverty greater prominence in their policy-making following councillor Jane Streather’s report, Making Ends Meet.

At constituency level, the report reveals the top 20 areas with the highest levels of child poverty include Middlesbrough in eighth position and Newcastle Central in 10th.

Both areas have entered the Top 20 table for the first time.

The Newcastle Central parliamentary constituency saw its poverty levels rise by 9% from 29% in 2011 to 38% in 2012.

This contrasts to Manchester Central, the constituency with the highest levels of child poverty in the country at 47%.

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