One in five children in Britain is living in poverty, says campaign

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One in five British children lives below the poverty line, new
research reveals.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty is publishing figures today showing that 20.2 per cent of British children are classified as below the poverty line, before housing costs.

In eight areas of large cities, more than four out of every ten children lived in poverty in 2012, the research shows.

But that is a decrease on the 19 parliamentary constituencies that had 40 per cent of children living in poverty in 2011.

The poorest constituency for children was Manchester Central, with 47 per cent of children living in poverty.

More than four in ten children were living in poverty in Glasgow North East (43 per cent), Belfast West (43 per cent), Ladywood, Birmingham (42 per cent), Liverpool Riverside (42 per cent) and Middlesbrough (40 per cent).

In London, 40 per cent of children were living in poverty in Tower Hamlets, 42 per cent were below the poverty line in the Bethnal Green and Bow, while 41 per cent were in poverty in Poplar and Limehouse.

The situation has broadly improved since 2011, except in some areas of the north-east of England. In Newcastle, 38 per cent of children were poor in 2012, compared with 29 per cent in 2011, while in Middlesbrough the figure rose to 40 per cent from 38 per cent.

Child poverty was the lowest in Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency (below 5 per cent). It was also under 10 per cent in David Cameron’s Witney constituency in Oxfordshire.

The figures reveal the wide disparity in poverty rates across the UK and within regions. In London, wealthy Richmond has a child poverty rate of 7 per cent.

In the figures, children are classified as being in poverty if they live in families receiving out-of-work benefits or in-work tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.

The report says: “This is not a direct measure of exactly how many children are in poverty on the official definition, but is the closest to an equivalent measure we have of local levels of child poverty (these data should therefore not be used for direct comparisons with official national and regional figures).”

Enver Solomon, chair of the campaign said: “The child poverty map reveals the depth and breadth of child poverty across the country, showing the gross levels of inequality that children face in every region.

“Far too many children, whose parents are struggling to make a living, are having to
go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.”