A South Tyneside MP says reducing child poverty must be a priority as figures show a third of the borough’s children are in need.
The latest statistics on child poverty show 32.17% children in South Tyneside are living in poverty.
And, shockingly the figures show almost half of children, 48.29%, living in the Beacon and Bents ward are in financial hardship.
South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, said changing this situation needs to be a top priority of the Government.
She said: “These shocking figures are a stark indictment of years of Tory rule.
“Child poverty levels have been rising under this Government yet they have done absolutely nothing of note to stem this tide or mitigate it. “In Shields the third of all children who are living in poverty are doing so directly as a result of the Tory’s ideologically driven forced austerity measures.
Children in my constituency should not be paying the price for Government failuresMP Emma Lewell-Buck
“Children in my constituency should not be paying the price for Government failures. The last Labour Government dramatically reduced child poverty levels by making it a priority, it is time this Government did the same.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that these difficult financial times are particularly challenging for families with children and these statistics are a cause for concern.
“We believe every child has the right to the best start in life and we are making strenuous efforts to help families.
“To help people affected by the government’s new welfare reforms, we created an enhanced welfare support team to enable us to offer early help and support to those likely to be affected.
“Our Children’s Services were also been re-designed to make it easier for families to access the right support when they need it.
“However, it is important to remember that the single best way to tackle poverty is through the creation of high quality jobs. That is why we continue to do all we can to attract business and investment in the Borough so we can provide valuable new opportunities for local people.”
The figures, by the End Child Poverty coalition, show some of the most deprived areas of the UK have seen the biggest increases in child poverty since the last report in 2015.
A child is said to live in poverty if they are in a family living on less than 60% of median household income.
According to the latest official statistics 60% of median income (after housing costs) was around £248 per week.
The coalition said the increases in some areas demonstrates the growing crisis of child poverty in the UK.
Sam Royston, chairman of End Child Poverty, said: “It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline.
“There can be little doubt that the Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.”
The coalition is also concerned that the impact of poverty may be exacerbated by a poverty premium – which means that low income families can face paying as much as £1,700 per year more than better off families, to buy the same essential goods and services. A major contributor to this is the high cost of credit for low income families, and the coalition wants to see the Government address this by providing better access to interest free credit.
Mr Royston said: “No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children.”
The number of children and the % in poverty across South Tyneside
*South Tyneside 9,670, 32.17%.
*Beacon and Bents 874, 48.29%.
*Bede 553, 32.74%.
*Biddick and All Saints 981, 42.01%.
Boldon Colliery 465, 24.47%.
Cleadon and East Boldon 130, 9.47%.
Cleadon Park 639, 40.68%.
Fellgate and Hedworth 557, 32.47%.
Harton 561, 32.31%.
Hebburn North 612, 29.37%.
Hebburn South 404, 28.98%.
Horsley Hill, 560, 28.96%.
Monkton 430, 25.89%.
Primrose 628, 35.38%.
Simonside and Rekendyke 687, 41.40%.
Westoe 283, 22.48%.
West Park 333, 28.92%.
Whitburn and Marsden 276, 19.47%.
Whiteleas 506, 31.85%.