Hospital Dr News

Children’s health under threat as data reveals child poverty is continuing to rise

Child poverty is on the rise with more than 50% of children living in poverty in some parts of the country.

The data, published by the End Child Poverty coalition, highlights how child poverty is rising fastest in places where it is already high.

Researchers from Loughborough University estimated the numbers of children locked in poverty in each constituency, ward and local authority area across Britain, showing that child poverty is rising particularly rapidly in parts of major cities, especially London, Birmingham and Manchester.

The local authority areas facing the highest levels of child poverty, after housing costs are taken into account, are: Tower Hamlets on 56.7%; Newham on 51.8%; Hackney on 48.1%; Islington on 47.5%; and Blackburn with Darwen on 46.9%.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says: “These latest statistics show the gap between rich and poor is widening, and that is extremely frightening not just for child health now, but for our future population.

“Child poverty doesn’t just determine whether a child can attend a school trip or has a safe and warm place to sleep. There is so much more to it. Left unaddressed, poverty can alter the trajectory of a child’s entire life. We know children living on or below the breadline are more likely to develop mental health issues, become overweight or obese, and die early. They are also more likely to misuse substances.”

Child poverty is also high in Westminster, Luton, Manchester, Pendle, Peterborough, Camden and Sandwell.

Viner added: “The Government has prioritised child health in recent months with bold plans set out to tackle obesity and support those with mental health difficulties. However, much of this good work will be undone without inequalities being addressed.

“An ambitious and credible child poverty reduction strategy as set out by the child poverty coalition today will help achieve this, but with no targeted help provided for children and families experiencing poverty, and continued cuts to early years services, this progress risks being derailed.  The Government must reverse these cuts urgently otherwise ensuring a healthy future for our children and future population will be impossible to grasp.”

End Child Poverty is calling for Government to:

  1. Restore the link between benefits (including housing support) and inflation
  2. End the two-child limit on child allowances in tax credits and universal credit, and reform Universal Credit
  3. Reverse the cuts and invest in children’s services such as mental health, education, childcare and social care.

Read the report.

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