CAMPAIGNERS have urged the Government to tackle child poverty after new figures revealed 22 per cent of youngsters growing up across Bromsgrove district were living below the breadline.
Research by End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, showed 4,701 youngsters were growing up in poverty after housing costs such as rent and mortgage were paid out.
According to the figures, conducted by Professor Donald Hirsch and Dr Juliet Stone at the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, Charford, Catshill and Sidemoor fare the worst in the district where the child poverty levels are at 36, 32 and 30 per cent.
A total of 853 youngsters are living in poverty in those three areas alone.
Campaigners want to see the link restored between benefits, including housing support, inflation, and the loss in children’s benefits as a result of the four-year freeze and previous sub-inflation increases in benefit rates, to be made up.
An end to the two-child limit on child allowances in tax credits and universal credit, reforming Universal Credit and a reversal of the cuts and investing in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care have also been called for by charity chiefs.
Anna Feuchtwang, chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said children growing up in poverty were 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.”
She said the Government urgently needed to set a course of action to free children from the grip of poverty.
“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.”
Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid told The Standard: “Eradicating child poverty is an absolute priority.
“More is being done that ever before to support children.
“The latest figures show the proportion of children in workless households is at a record low.
“Because under the Conservatives, we’ve seen a jobs boom – with the unemployment rate at its lowest for over 40 years.
“But there is more to be done, we must continue to tackle the root causes of poverty.”