Record number of children 'living in poverty'

More children in South Tyneside were living in poverty during the first full year of the coronavirus pandemic than ever recorded before, new figures show.

child poverty figures.
child poverty figures.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows 8,432 children aged under 16 were living in families with low incomes in 2020-21 – an estimated 31.1% of all youngsters in the area.

That was up from 29.6% the year before, and the highest since comparable records began in 2014-15 – when the figure stood at 18.6%.

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The figures show 2,563 (30%) were aged below five – with another 1,895 young people aged from 16 to 19 also in low income families.

A family is defined as in low income if it earns less than 60% of the national median household income before housing costs are considered.

Child poverty charities warn that the Government's response to the cost of living crisis risks increasing ther number of children living below the breadline.

Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garnham, said: "Many of the children who were lifted out of poverty by the £20 increase to Universal Credit have already been forced back over the brink. As millions struggle with spiralling costs, we know the picture will worsen."

The Department for Work and Pensions said the data should be treated with caution due to changes in data collection during lockdowns.

A Government spokesman said the landscape is different now than it was during the pandemic and that filling the record number of vacancies is the best route out of poverty.