Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 00:07
SHOCKING statistics released this week show more than 1,000 children across Bromsgrove district are living in poverty.
The figures, published by the End Child Poverty Campaign on Wednesday (February 20), relate to children who are part of a family that is either living on unemployment benefits or on less than 60 per cent of the average household income.
The End Child Poverty Campaign has called on the Government and councils to protect people on low income families when making decisions about welfare spending, in particular changes to council tax and housing benefit.
Across Bromsgrove district, Charford is the hardest-hit ward with one in five youngsters deemed to be living in poverty.
Next is Sidemoor (13 per cent) and then Catshill, Whitford and St John’s, which covers Bromsgrove Town Centre. Those three are all deemed to have 11 per cent of children living in poverty.
In total, however, ten Bromsgrove wards have less than five per cent of children within them living in poverty. And that factor, which makes it seven per cent overall for the district, sees Bromsgrove have the lowest child poverty figure in Worcestershire.
Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid said: “Cutting child poverty, and poverty in general, requires an economy that creates jobs.
“This is the surest way to improve living standards for everyone and particularly those, such as children, who are dependent on others.
“I’m pleased that unemployment has been falling month-on-month, and that today we have more people in employment that at anytime in our history.
“The Government’s Pupil Premium, Universal Credit, Work Programme and investment in childcare are all also helping to deal with the causes of poverty.
“The tax cuts for the lowest paid have made 24million people better off, and taken over 2million out of income taxation altogether.”
In South Birmingham, the figures are much higher - 29 per cent of children in Longbridge, which also covers Rednal and Frankley, are living in poverty. That equates to around 1,800. And in neighbouring Northfield, the figure is 25 per cent, with some 1,400 youngsters in families depending on benefits or having an income less than 60 per cent of the average income.
Northfield MP Richard Burden said poverty crippled a child’s chance to lead a happy and healthy life and made it so much harder for them to reach their potential.
“You would think the Government would make tackling child poverty a key priority.
“Instead they are making life harder for working families already struggling to get by – with their unfair attack on tax credits and working benefits this April.
“The Government’s own assessment predicts that these changes will push another 200,000 children into poverty.
“And this comes on top of the 800,000 increase expected as a result of the Government’s other welfare cuts.
“I am proud the last Labour Government took 1million children out of poverty and committed to end child poverty by 2020.
“It is a disgrace that, in contrast, by 2020 this Conservative-led Government is set to force 1million more children into poverty.”
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