CAMPAIGNERS have urged the Government to tackle child poverty after new figures revealed almost a third of all children growing up in Worcester were doing so below the breadline.
Research by End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, revealed an estimated 7,177 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, Gorse Hill fares the worst in the city.
The research claims 812 youngsters or 49 per cent of children in the area are trapped in poverty with 1,056 youngsters in Warndon facing life below the breadline.
Worcester has the third highest rate of child poverty in Worcestershire according to the findings with only Redditch (33 per cent) and Wyre Forest (34 per cent) ahead of the city.
Campaigners want to see the link restored between benefits, including housing support, and 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-and 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: “Growing up in poverty means growing up 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.
“We urgently need Government to set a course of action that will free our 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,” she added.
Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Worcester, Coun Lynn Denham told the Observer: “People should be shocked that there are so many children growing up in poverty in our city. No child deserves this.
“The majority live in working families with parents doing their best but trapped in low paid, insecure work. That leaves them constantly struggling to keep up with the rising cost of rent, food, heating and other household bills.