The government must act on “devastating” new figures showing the number of Newcastle children now growing in poverty, the advisers said.
Statistics released Wednesday by the End Child Poverty Coalition show that the number of children classified as living in poverty has climbed by more than a third in the Northeast. At Newcastle, the figure rose from 28.4% to 41.2% at Newcastle between 2014/15 and 2019/20.
This is a 12% increase from a jump of just 2% during the same period nationally.
This grim picture is reflected across the North East: the region’s 12 councils are among the 20 UK local authorities that experienced the largest increases in poverty between 2014/15 and 2019/20.
Following the report, Newcastle advisers called for “urgent action” from the government to help children and families in difficulty.
Newcastle City Council chief Nick Forbes said: “The figures released are devastating. These are not numbers or statistics – these are children who, through no fault of their own, are in pain. It’s something none of us want to see and no child, parent or guardian should have to live with.
“The inequalities that many families face are in large part due to the years of austerity that were imposed on us and that led to the cut-off of many vital services. This includes the closure of very successful Sure Start centers that provided health, education and social assistance services when and where families needed them.
‘In Newcastle we have lost £ 305million from our budgets since 2010 – £ 2,270 per household – and the coronavirus pandemic has had a massive additional impact on council finances and the hardships people face.
“Despite this, we continue to do all we can to support families and, as part of the budget approved by the council earlier this year, we are committed to providing help and support to all of the children who have been most hard hit by the pandemic.
“We ask the government to show its commitment to supporting families and leveling our country. We need the government to act to help us end this inequality and lift families out of the poverty trap that far too many people find themselves stuck in. “
The council highlighted its own pledge, made earlier this year, to invest £ 500,000 to ‘ensure that no child is left behind as a result of inequalities caused by or exacerbated by the Covid pandemic’. An additional £ 100,000 has also been pledged to tackle food poverty.
As part of the £ 500,000 allocated to help overcome post-Covid inequality, £ 200,000 is used to support the development of Children and Families Newcastle, a new service providing early community support to children and families to tackle inequality.
The remaining £ 300,000 will be used as part of a campaign to help children and young people catch up on school, take advantage of training and employment opportunities and get help and support for emotional or mental health problems.
Organizations across the city, including health, social services, education, housing and employers, are called upon to work together to ensure “no child is left behind”.
Councilor Paula Holland, a member of the Education and Skills Council Cabinet, said: “There is no doubt that the disruption in education and the closure of schools caused by the pandemic has had a huge impact on many children – not only in terms of learning, but in terms of other supports and safeguards provided by schools.
“Our teachers and support staff have worked incredibly hard to support each student during this time and, with the help of several partners, we have purchased and provided computer equipment to enable the children to continue their learning at home.
“We are doing all we can and urging other organizations in the city to continue doing their part to help and support children and families in difficulty.
The government uses a different measure of child poverty and states that between 2009/10 and 2019/20 absolute child poverty (after housing) fell from 28% (3.7 million) to 25% (3.5 millions).
A spokesperson said: “The latest figures show that the number of children in absolute poverty has fallen by 300,000 since 2010.
“We are committed to supporting the poorest families, spending billions more on social assistance and planning a long-term exit from poverty by protecting jobs through time off and helping people find work through our Employment Plan.
“We also launched our £ 269million Covid Local Support Grant to help children and families stay warm and well nourished throughout the pandemic.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-20 05:00:00