Almost half of all children living in parts of the North East are trapped in poverty according to new data published today by the End Child Poverty Coalition.

When measured by constituency, almost half of children in Newcastle upon Tyne Central ward (48 per cent) are living in poverty. The average across the region is 35 per cent.

Child poverty has increased in 22 out of the 29 constituencies in the North East since 2016/17.

Child poverty on the rise

The End Child Poverty Coalition, who commissioned the research, is calling for the major parties to outline ambitious child poverty-reduction strategies.

Figures collated by Loughborough University, indicate child poverty is on the rise across Britain - and rising fastest in places where it is already highest.

Two thirds of child poverty occurs in working families

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “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.

“Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances. Policymakers can no longer deny the depth of the problem or abandon entire areas to rising poverty. The Government must respond with a credible child poverty-reduction strategy.”

Stop the stigma

Chief Executive of Children North East, Jeremy Cripps, believes it's time for policy makers to act: “Growing up in poor accommodation, hungry, cold, with parents stressed by constant financial worries, holding down insecure poorly paid jobs, is simply miserable.

“Walk down a street in parts of Newcastle and that will be the experience of every second child you see. Children North East works hard to stop the stigma those children feel in school but Government should be shamed into taking urgent action to stamp out the causes of poverty.”

Children North East on BBC Newcastle

If you missed Children North East's Tracey Welsh on BBC Newcastle - Radio for the North East this morning, you can listen again from the start of the programme at 0.815 and on the hour at 100.00

The researchers looked at each constituency, ward and local authority area across Britain and their data shows that child poverty is rising particularly rapidly in parts of major cities, especially London, Birmingham and Manchester, suggesting that inequality between areas is growing.

The local authority areas in the North East have the following levels of child poverty, after housing costs are taken into account:

  • Middlesbrough (39%)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne (39%)
  • Sunderland (37%)
  • County Durham (36%)
  • Gateshead (36%)
  • Hartlepool (36%)
  • Darlington (35%)
  • South Tyneside (34%)
  • Stockton-on-Tees (34%)
  • Redcar and Cleveland (34%)
  • Northumberland (31%)
  • North Tyneside (30%)

Children North East alongside the End Child Poverty Coalition is calling on the Government to set out an ambitious and credible child poverty-reduction strategy, including:

  • Restoring the link between benefits (including housing support) and inflation, and then making up for the loss in the real value in children’s benefits as a result of the 4-year freeze and previous sub-inflation increases in benefit rates.
  • Ending the two-child limit on child allowances in tax credits and universal credit-and reforming Universal Credit;
  • Reversing the cuts and investing in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care.

 * The Campaign to End Child Poverty is made up of organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty.

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